A paralegal is a legal figure who purports to help or co-operate a lawyer in his/her legal work. It is a certified profession in the world of jurisdictions. He/she does all kinds of stuffs to associate a lawyer serve the client but he/she cannot directly handle the case.
The recognition of a paralegal is not the same everywhere. In USA, it is not a registered or official profession. They are not the members of the Bar association. But in Canada, a paralegal is a licensed and regulated figure. He serves his lawyer to minimize his hardships.
This term has come in to being not a long ago. It has evolved in the late 60s. In USA, a governing body called the American Bar Association first introduced this title in the legal field in 1968. In 1981, AAFPE (The American Association for Paralegal Education) was established. And after that, the American Bar Association arranged the first seminar of paralegal professors. Between the years of 1980 to 1981, MPA (Metrolina Paralegal Association) was created by a small group of people. In 1975, NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants), a non-profit association was founded which included over 18000 legal assistants and paralegals.
National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA) was established in 1974 which represented more than 60 state and local paralegal association consisting of 15000 paralegals. It offers a voluntary degree which is known as PACE (Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination) and can be achieved through an exam.
The growth of this profession also increases with a great pace. There were only 31 paralegal programs in USA in the year of 1973 where the amount has rised up to over 250 by 1980. There were around 600 programs just after a decade. But now, there is approximately 1000 paralegal programs are available. Among them, about 250 programs are directly approved by the American Bar Association. At present, there are almost 200,000 paralegals working under lawyers.
A paralegal does not only aid to the lawyer, also prepares the materials and documents needed for the case. He also investigates or interrogates the clients or witness on behalf of the lawyer. He also does the case related study for helping his employer.
A paralegal needs to acquire a paralegal certificate to enter in to this profession. Although no special degree is needed in this case, but most firms prefer to have an education of bachelor level. It is not necessary to have it in law sector. He also needs to have the information of latest legal development.
Now-a-days, many universities are providing distinctive degrees in this regard. Kaplan University, Argosy University, Phoenix University and so many other varsities are now offering paralegal education courses even online. But a less educated person can also choose become a paralegal if he/she works enough in this area and get himself well-experienced.