Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are a distinguishable group of persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. Through formal education, training and experience, paralegals have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.
The terms legal
assistant and paralegal are
used interchangeably, much like the terms
lawyer. The practice of law is regulated by each of the 50 states.
In all states, legal assistants/paralegals are prohibited from practicing law without a
license. A legal assistant/paralegal cannot give legal advice, represent a client in court,
set a fee, or accept a case, which functions are generally considered the practice of law.
Working under the supervision of an attorney, the legal assistant's work product is
merged with and becomes part of the attorney work product. In communications with
clients and the public, the legal assistant' s non-lawyer status must be clear. A legal
assistant may perform any function delegated by an attorney, including but not limited to
Professionally, a paralegal's time for substantive legal work (as opposed to clerical or administrative work) is billed to clients much the same way as an attorney's time, but at a lower hourly rate.
- Conduct client interviews and maintain
general contact with the client, so long as the client is aware of
the status and function of the legal assistant, and the legal
assistant works under the supervision of the attorney.
- Locate and interview witnesses.
- Conduct investigations and statistical and
- Conduct legal research.
- Draft legal documents, correspondence and
- Summarize depositions, interrogatories and
- Attend executions of wills, real estate
closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings and trials
with the attorney.
- Author and sign correspondence provided the legal assistant status is clearly indicated and the correspondence does not contain independent legal opinions or legal advice.
The following is a list of the paralegal schools and/or programs offered in the Phoenix metropolitan
area and whether the program is approved by the American Bar Association. The APA does not
promote or recommend any of the schools listed below, but provides them as a courtesy and for your convenience.
2525 West Beryl Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85021
Arizona Paralegal Training Program*
111 West Monroe Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
1126 North Scottsdale Road, #17
Tempe, Arizona 85281
1202 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85013
|* Programs are approved by the American Bar Association.
The following legal links are provided as a resource for paralegals,
the APA does not take any responsibility for information obtained from these websites.
National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.
Arizona Legislative Information System ("ALIS") includes Arizona Revised Statutes, state legislature and much more
Maricopa County Superior Court, includes on-line docket
Search the Maricopa County Recorder's Office and get copies of recorded documents from your desktop
Arizona Corporation Commission, search for Arizona corporations and limited liability companies
Arizona Republic, Phoenix Gazette and Arizona Business Gazette
It is the responsibility of every legal assistant to adhere strictly to the accepted
standards of legal ethics and to live by general principles of proper conduct.
The performance of the duties of the legal assistant shall be governed by specific
canons as defined below in order that justice will be served and the goals of the
profession attained. The Canons of Ethics set forth are adopted by the National
Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. as a general guide, and the enumeration of
these rules does not mean there are not others of equal importance, although not
- CANON 1 - A legal assistant shall not
perform any of the duties that lawyers only may perform nor do
things that lawyers themselves may not do.
- CANON 2 - A legal assistant may perform
any task delegated and supervised by a lawyer so long as the
lawyer is responsible to the client, maintains a direct
relationship with the client, and assumes full professional
responsibility for the work product.
- CANON 3 - A legal assistant shall not
engage in the practice of law by accepting cases, setting fees,
giving legal advice or appearing in court (unless otherwise
authorized by court or agency rules).
- CANON 4 - A legal assistant shall not act
in matters involving professional legal judgment as the services
of a lawyer are essential in the public interest whenever the
exercise of such judgment is required.
- CANON 5 - A legal assistant must act
prudently in determining the extent to which a client may be
assisted without the presence of a lawyer.
- CANON 6 - A legal assistant shall not
engage in the unauthorized practice of law.
- CANON 7 - A legal assistant must protect
the confidences of a client, and it shall be unethical for a legal
assistant to violate any statute now in effect or hereafter to be
enacted controlling privileged communications.
- CANON 8 - It is the obligation of the
legal assistant to avoid conduct which would cause the lawyer to
be unethical or even appear to be unethical and loyalty to the
employer is incumbent upon the legal assistant.
- CANON 9 - A legal assistant shall work
continually to maintain integrity and a high degree of competency
through the legal profession.
- CANON 10 - A legal assistant shall strive
for perfection through education in order to better assist the
legal profession in fulfilling its duty of making legal services
available to clients and the public.
- CANON 11 - A legal assistant shall do all
things incidental, necessary or expedient for the attainment of
the ethics and responsibilities imposed by statute or rule of
- CANON 12 - A legal assistant is governed by the American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility and the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct.