1. Under recently enacted law, to hold out as a
paralegal means that the individual must perform all legal work under the
direction and supervision of an attorney.
2. A paralegal working under the direction and supervision of a
supervising attorney may only perform legal work specifically delegated by that
3. A freelance paralegal may contract independently with
a person who is not an attorney to perform certain types of legal services for that
4. An attorney may bill clients for the services of a legal
assistant who does not meet applicable paralegal requirements, so long as the
attorney does not refer to that person as a paralegal in the billing.
5. A person employed by the State of California as a paralegal, legal
assistant, legal analyst or similar title, is exempt from the new paralegal rules.
6. A paralegal may interview clients, conduct research and draft
legal documents, but may not represent a client before any court or administrative agency.
7. A paralegal may not select, explain, draft or recommend the use of
any legal document to or for any person other than the attorney who directs and supervises
8. A paralegal may not only set the fee to be paid to the paralegal
by the supervising attorney, but may also set the fee that the supervising attorney
charges to the attorneys client for the paralegals services.
9. A paralegal is required to maintain the confidentiality of client
10. A paralegal is prohibited from inducing a person to make an
investment, purchase a financial product or service, or enter a transaction from which
income or profit purportedly may be derived.
11. The new paralegal rules create educational prerequisites for
paralegals, which can only be met through possession of a degree or a certificate of
completion from an accredited program or school.
12. A paralegal may not act as a runner or capper
to solicit clients for an attorney.
13. Any person who violates the provisions of Bus. & Prof. Code
§6451 or §6452 (regarding unlawful activities or holding out by a paralegal) is guilty
of an infraction for the first violation, punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to
$2,500 as to each consumer with respect to whom a violation occurs.
14. The new paralegal rules create mandatory continuing legal
education (MCLE) requirements for paralegals, and a paralegal must certify with the State
Bar of California that such requirements have been met.
15. A paralegals supervising attorney must keep records of the
paralegals MCLE compliance.
16. Paralegals must certify completion: (1) every two years of four
hours of continuing education in either general law or in a specialized area of law; and
(2) every three years of four hours of continuing education in legal ethics.
17. The business card of a paralegal must include the name of the law
firm where the paralegal is employed, or a statement that the paralegal is employed by, or
contracting with, a licensed attorney.
18. An attorney who uses the services of a paralegal is liable for
any harm caused as the result of the paralegals negligence, misconduct or violation
of the new paralegal rules.
19. Consumers injured by a violation of the new paralegal rules may
file a complaint and seek redress in municipal or superior court for injunctive relief,
restitution, and damages.
20. Consumers may direct any complaints concerning a paralegal to the
State Bar of California, which has disciplinary jurisdiction over non-attorney paralegals.