- Carol Highfill
How to find the right paralegal for your case in California.
Updated: Jan 5
California allows non-legal practitioners with legal knowledge to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Their importance to the legal profession cannot be ignored; the American Bar Association has model guidelines for paralegal practice. This in itself should assure you that a paralegal will offer you that much-needed help. The best part about working with paralegals is they are usually available. Most paralegals help clients who do not need to go into litigation to ease their workload. That said, how do you find the right paralegal in California?
Differentiate between paralegals and attorneys
Although a paralegal is not an attorney, the American Bar Association does allow them to help clients with matters that would not require litigation but will need legal knowledge. That is why they are called legal document assistants.
Are they qualified?
Understand this; the American Bar Association does not certify paralegals. However, they do recognize institutions that are tasked with training paralegals. An individual can receive paralegal training in any of the following institutions:
NALA: The Paralegal Association
California Alliance of Paralegal Associations
American Alliance of Paralegals
National Association for Legal Support professionals
National Federation of Paralegal Associations
A qualified paralegal will probably have certification from one of these institutions. So make an inquiry: You can request proof to be sure.
You can opt for a referral.
If you do not know any paralegals, you can rely on another person’s experience to settle on a paralegal. When dealing with referrals, you need to be very careful; never assume that the other person’s good experience automatically means that your experience might be equally good. This is not to say that it will be bad, but you need to be careful.
Don’t just inquire on the outcome of your referrer's case; try and inquire more about the paralegal. What is their experience on issues similar to yours? How long have they worked, and where have they worked as paralegals? If you are satisfied, then you can take the next step, which is hiring them.
Paralegals are heavily involved in the legal profession. Their experience in conducting client interviews, accompanying attorneys to court and preparing for trial makes them an invaluable asset in the law profession. What makes them even more useful is they help with affordable dispensation of justice because they charge lower fees as compared to attorneys. With that said, you can reach out to us if you are in need of a paralegal near you! We are a team of paralegals in California ready to serve you.