California Paralegals / Legal Assistants

Certification Requirements


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California Paralegals / Legal Assistants
Certification Requirements


California legislation (AB 1761) makes it unlawful for persons to identify themselves as paralegals unless they possess one of the following four requirements:

1.   A certificate of completion from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.

2.   A certificate of completion from a paralegal program at, or a degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.

3.   A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.

4.   A high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, a minimum of three years of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks. This experience and training shall be completed no later than December 31, 2003.

CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT

Every two years, commencing January 1, 2007, any person that is working as a paralegal shall be required to certify completion of

1.   Four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in legal ethics.

and

2.   Four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in either general law or in a specialized area of law.

All continuing legal education courses shall meet the requirements of Section 6070.
Certification of these continuing education requirements shall be made with the paralegal's supervising attorney. The paralegal shall be responsible for keeping a record of the paralegal's certifications.

If the educational criteria are not met, the individual is in violation of the Business & Professions Code Section 6450(d).

 

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