Paralegal Organizations in the United States


It was during the 1960s and 1970s in the United States that the emergence of the paralegal profession began. Prior to this time lawyers hired anyone who could type and write short hand as paper work clerks.
But today Paralegals are well trained individuals who are capable of carrying out case investigation, prepare case files, take depositions, draft legal documents and generally manage law firms and legal departments of government agencies and corporations.
This scenario springs from the fact that the lawyers' body in the united states instituted a Standing Committee responsible for setting the standard in terms of attorney/paralegal relationship. This body also is responsible for employment guidelines and duties of a paralegal.
In the past the committee, was made up of attorneys, but today professional paralegals are members. Certification of programs for institutions that train paralegals remain the responsibility of the American Bar Association. This affords the association the chance to maintain educational standards for paralegals.
A number of national professional organizations are also in place to regulate the paralegal profession The growth of the paralegal profession is as a result of the work of these organizations.
In this country more than 50,000 paralegals are controlled and represented by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), There is also the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Though both associations are in some sort of competition,they both work for the interest of the paralegal profession. There activities help to shape the profession. Their difference is the use of nomenclature. While NALA uses the word "Legal Assistants" the NFPA prefers the term Paralegal.
The schools and institutions, both online and offline, have their own organization for self regulation. It is known as American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). Members are owners of schools and teachers of paralegal courses. The work of this organization augments consistency of paralegal education standards.
In 2003 a new organization known as the American Alliance of Paralegals came into being and began setting standards. Criteria for membership in this organization is the requirement for certain entry level educational qualification or work experience. It was this organization that first spear headed the setting of minimum educational standards for paralegals.
As a trained paralegal or if you are undergoing training or about to begin training as a paralegal, seek out the appropriate professional membership that can assist your ambition to become a paralegal. 

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