There is no specific standard or set of qualifications that determines the difference between a legal assistant or a paralegal. The titles “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are generally interchangeable. California has a law specifying who may use the title‘paralegal’. Other states are considering similar proposals.
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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