The legal assistant concept began to emerge in the late 1960’s when law firms sought ways to improve the efficient and cost effective delivery of legal services. The American Bar Association (ABA) does not certify individual paralegals. However, since 1975 the ABA has approved paralegal programs that satisfy the rigorous standards of the ABA Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs.
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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