LEGL 115 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Time Management, Communication, Body Language

Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Course Code
LEGL 115
Geno S Gani

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Paralegal Today Ch 1 - Today’s Professional Paralegal
Paralegals/Legal assistants are qualified through education, training, or work experience to
provide substantive legal work that would customarily be performed by a lawyer. They
adhere to recognized ethical standards.
Paralegals may:
Conduct legal research, client and witness interviews, or legal investigations of
reports and records
Organize and maintain files
Draft legal documents
Coordinate litigation proceedings and track deadlines
Attend legal proceedings
Perform secretarial work such as answering phones or accounting
Paralegal education program types:
2-year Community College
4-year Bachelor’s degree
Certificate programs (typically 3-18 months long)
Post-grad certificate program (3-12 months) - require a bachelor’s degree
Master’s degree
Paralegals may not give legal advice. If passing advice from the attorney to the client it must
reflect exactly what the attorney said with no modification.
Substantive Law: laws that define, describe, regulate, and create legal rights + obligations
Procedural Law: establishes the methods of enforcing the rights laid out by substantive law
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Programs are seminars or workshops focusing on specific
topics or areas of law. A certain number of CLE hours may be required by an association or
state (CA) to maintain membership or to work as a paralegal.
Paralegals must complete the NALA, NFPA, NALS, AAPI, or state certification process to be
considered certified. Certificates of completion from a program are not enough but are
sufficient for most employers and certification is voluntary in all states.
Levels of certification include:
Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) or Certified Paralegal (CP)
Advanced Paralegal Certification (APC)
Registered Paralegal (RP)
Analytical Skills:
The ability to collect, study, and interpret data
The ability to break down theories and fact patterns into easily understandable
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