The paralegal role has failed to gain the recognition that it deserves in the legal community for several reasons. It can be argued that one of the most significant is that there is no clear definition about what a paralegal does. Some still consider the paralegal to be a glorified secretary. Others view the paralegal as a wannabe attorney who either was disbarred or who did not have enough fortitude to go to law school or pass the bar. Although, these are all issues that have affected the profession the one that may go undiscussed is paralegal regulation. According to Black’s Law Dictionary a profession is “A vocation requiring advanced education and training; esp., one of the three traditional learned professions law, medicine, and the ministry and “collectively, the members of such a vocation”. It is interesting to note that all of the three professions that are listed in this definition typically require specialized training and a license to practice. It is also important to note that these are the areas that affect a person in very critical aspects of their life; health, liberty, and spiritual well-being.
The other aspect of the definition speaks to unity within that stated profession. A survey was recently posted within a group and the response to the presence of the survey in this group’s sphere of influence pointed to one of the problems occurring within the paralegal profession. The lack of unity. Abraham Lincoln once stated that a house divided will not stand. When he made this statement he was speaking to unity within the country as a whole. A common tactic during military campaigns is to create confusion within the opposition’s camp. Once this happens infighting occurs and it weakens the resolve and the ability of the opposing side to fight the real foe because resources and energy are spent fighting one other. In the paralegal profession the lack of a uniform method to regulate the profession creates territorial attitudes that hinders it from reaching the level of professionalism that it deserves.
Take the survey: Should there be a uniform method to regulate the paralegal profession?