Beyond the five acts mentioned above, the paralegal can perform virtually any other task, including legal research, legal writing, factual investigation, evidence preparation, and day-to-day case management tasks. The key is that lawyers are fully responsible for the actions of their paralegals, and by signing and filing court documents written by paralegals (or articling students), lawyers take ownership of those documents. Paralegals exist precisely because they are not lawyers, so they can do the job at a lower cost.  In addition to expertise, the main restrictions on the work a paralegal may or may not do tend to be local by-laws that reserve certain activities for lawyers (i.e., granting a monopoly). Some jurisdictions have a list of reserved activities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of paralegals and paralegals is expected to grow by 8% from 2014 to 2024, as fast as the average for all occupations. The terms “legal assistant” and “paralegal” are used interchangeably, in the same manner as the terms lawyer and lawyer. Different professional organizations offer different definitions of paralegal. NALA offers its Certified Legal Assistant or Certified Paralegal exam, a comprehensive two-day exam that covers the following topics: communication, ethics, legal research, judgment and analytical skills, the U.S. legal system, and four subsections selected by candidates from a list of nine substantive areas of law. These subsection examinations cover general knowledge in the following areas of activity: administrative law, bankruptcy, commercial organizations, civil procedure, contracts, criminal law and procedures, probate, planning and probate, family law and real estate.
Upon successful completion of the exam, NALA awards the paralegal the designation of “CLA” (Certified Legal Assistant) or “CP” (Certified Paralegal). The designations “CLA” and “CP” are protected trademarks of NALA. Paralegals who have completed their education and received a paralegal certificate are referred to as “certified” unless they have passed the examination and received the “certified” designation. In addition, paralegals who receive the “Chartered Paralegal” designation have the opportunity to acquire the “Advanced Certified Paralegal” designation. There is a 45-50% pass rate for people who take NALA exams.  In South Africa, paralegals or paralegals must have a thorough knowledge of the law and the administration of justice. Their responsibilities may include: communicating with their employers` clients to help resolve legal issues, conducting legal research, preparing court cases and connecting with the public. This programme is specifically designed to provide a comprehensive overview of all aspects of paralegal specialisation and an understanding of individual rights and the rights of others. Paralegal offers the use and application of skills and competencies related to criminal and procedural law, civil litigation, wills and estates, dispute resolution, legal advice, property law and transfer of property, as well as legal practice management and collection/collection advice. [ref. In response, prosecutors appointed a public protection committee to review the Los Angeles Bar Association`s application.
Then, “in 1988, the Public Protection Committee unanimously recommended that the California legislature completely repeal the state`s UPL laws. It also concluded that independent paralegals should be allowed to provide all types of legal services as long as they are registered with a state authority and disclose their non-lawyer status to all clients. After many local bar associations reacted with dismay, “the California Bar Association appointed a third group (the Legal Engineers Commission) to revisit the issue. The commission largely agreed with the findings of its predecessors and recommended that non-lawyers be allowed by the California Supreme Court to provide legal services in several key areas (bankruptcy, family, immigration, and landlord-tenants) under a licensing system overseen by an independent state agency.  A number of paralegals in the Department of Taxation are career federal employees who appreciate the breadth and pace of paralegals` work. Other paralegals are recent college graduates who stay with the division for a year or two and use their experience to see if they are interested in a career as a lawyer. Paralegals are qualified by their education, training or work experience and are employed or hired by a lawyer, law firm, corporation, government agency or other entity to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. In a law firm, the time the paralegal spends on substantive legal work is charged to clients at market prices, like other professional staff, but often at a lower price. This distinguishes paralegals from other non-legal employees.
As a rule, time spent on administrative or bureaucratic tasks is not billable. Earning a paralegal degree offers the opportunity to research a wide range of career opportunities. While you may want to consider working in the private sector, there are also public sector paralegal jobs within government. Understanding your professional responsibilities and how a state paralegal differs from other professionals makes it easier to determine if you want to work in a government agency. While generalists – those who work in all areas of law – cater to the needs of many small law firms, some firms and organizations have found that specialized paralegals are needed for their practice. CILEx offers a non-academic pathway to qualification as a lawyer, with the majority of its members learning on the job and working as paralegals. It is open to individuals with or without a law degree and allows paralegals to become fully qualified lawyers, partners, lawyers, coroners and judges, provided the right level of qualifications, skills and experience is achieved. Another notable exception is the character Della Street from Perry Mason`s novel, television and film series.
Although Mason identifies Della as “my confidential secretary,” the projects he assigns to her are entirely consistent with the work of a law firm of experienced paralegals.