Guide to Regulation of Paralegals in California

Do paralegals need a license in California?

To perform services of a paralegal or to use the title of “paralegal,” “legal assistant,” “attorney assistant,” or similar titles, you must have a certificate from a recognized paralegal program, or meet certain other requirements.1Business & Professions Code 6450-6456

What can paralegals do in California?

Paralegals may not perform any services for a consumer except under the direction and supervision of the attorney, law firm, corporation, government agency, or other entity that employs or contracts with the paralegal.

Paralegals are not allowed to any of the following:

  1. Provide legal advice.
  2. Represent a client in court.
  3. Select, explain, draft, or recommend the use of any legal document to or for any person other than the attorney who directs and supervises the paralegal.
  4. Act as a “runner” or “capper,” as defined in Business & Professions Code Sections 6151 and 6152.
  5. Engage in conduct that constitutes the unlawful practice of law.
  6. Contract with, or be employed by, a natural person other than an attorney to perform paralegal services.
  7. In connection with providing paralegal services, induce a person to make an investment, purchase a financial product or service, or enter a transaction from which income or profit, or both, purportedly may be derived.
  8. Establish the fees to charge a client for the services the paralegal performs, which shall be established by the attorney who supervises the paralegal’s work.

Exemption:

An individual employed by the state as a paralegal, legal assistant, legal analyst, or similar title, is exempt from these regulations.2Business & Professions Code 6456

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