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Paralegal Ch. 2

TermDefinition
paralegal a person who assists an attorney and, working under the attorney's supervision, does tasks that, absent the paralegal, the attorney would do; cannot give legal advice or appear in court; "legal assistant"
American Bar Association (ABA) national voluntary organization of lawyers
ABA definition of paralegal/legal assistant (1997) a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed/retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity & performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible
NALA and NFPA the two major national associations of paralegals/legal assistants
NALA definition of paralegals/legal assistants a distinguishable group of non-lawyers who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services
NALA definition of paralegals/legal assistants (continuted) through formal education, training, and experience, they have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney
NFPA definition of paralegal/legal assistant 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
NFPA definition of paralegal/legal assistant (continuted) 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
freelance paralegal a paralegal who works as an independent contractor rather than as an employee of a law firm or corporation
independent contractor a person who works for another but who retains the right to control the manner of producing the end result; not an employee
lay advocate generally someone operating within the law, representing persons before administrative agencies that permit this practice
legal technician a nonlawyer who provides legal services directly to the public without being under the supervision of an attorney; absent a statute allowing this activity, it constitutes the unauthorized practice of law
pro se one who represents himself or herself in a legal action
legal scrivener the provider of a typing service; offers to prepare standardized legal documents for people who are attempting to handle their legal matters pro se
legal document assistants (California) and legal document preparers (Arizona) prepare legal documents for members of the public who are representing themselves in a legal matter; assistance is limited to ministerial tasks and to providing general published factual information; explicitly prohibited from giving legal advice
independent paralegal a paralegal working under the supervision of an attorney in a contractual relationship; sometimes used to refer to a paralegal providing legal services directly to the public without being under the supervision of an attorney
law clerk a law student or a recent law school graduate whose duties usually focus on legal research
documents clerk someone who organizes and files legal documents
attorney lawyer; a person licensed by a court to practice law
American Association for Paralegal Education (AAPE) national organization of paralegal programs that promotes high standards for paralegal education, provides a forum for professional improvement for paralegal educators, & promotes research & dissemination of information regarding the paralegal profession
National Federation of Paralegal Associates (NFPA) a national association of paralegal associations; formed in 1974 as a federation of local paralegal groups
National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) a national paralegal association; formed in 1975; direct membership organization
International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA) a national association of legal assistant managers
registration the process by which individuals or organizations have their names placed on an official list kept by some private organization or governmental agency
certification a method of recognizing accomplishment administered by nongovernmental bodies
certified the status of being formally recognized by a nongovernmental organization for having met special criteria, such as fulfilling educational requirements and passing an exam, established by that organization
certificated the status of having received a certificate documenting that the person has successfully completed an educational program
licensing the process by which governmental agencies establish standards (or adopt those of other groups) and then prohibit those who have not met these standards from working in that occupational field
legal aid services programs that deliver legal assistance to the indigent
pro bono work legal representation done without charge
partnership a business run by two or more persons as co-owners
partners receive a share of the firm's profits rather than a set salary
associates employees of the firm who receive a set salary, along with bonuses, for their efforts
professional corporation (PC) a professional entity in which the stockholders share in the organization's profits but have their liabilities limited to the amount of their investment
limited liability partnership (LLP) a professional entity in which the owners share in the organization's profits but are not liable for the malpractice of their partners
sole proprietorship a business owned by a single owner
investigators often former law enforcement officers who located and interview witnesses, take photographs of accident scenes, and gather documentary evidence
general counsel has responsibility for advising corporate officials on how to minimize legals risks and how to respond to legal difficulties
legal clinic provides low-cost legal services on routine matters by stressing low overhead and high volume
legal services offices legal aid services that serve those who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance
Legal Services Corporation a federally funded program to deliver legal assistance to the indigent