The practice of law is regulated by each of the 50 U.S.states. In all states, legal assistants and paralegals are prohibited from practicing law without a license. Legal assistants and paralegals cannot give legal advice. Legal advice can only be given by a licensed lawyer (attorney). Generally, paralegals may not represent clients in court, take depositions, or sign pleadings. Paralegals may note stablish the attorney’s relationship with the client or set fees to be charged.
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations defines a paralegal as “…a person qualified through education, training or work experience, to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer. Paralegals may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency, or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work.” Paralegals adhere to recognized ethical standard sand rules of professional responsibility.
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