California Paralegal Schools and Certifications
Becoming a Paralegal in California
California employ’s over 27,000 paralegals. Paralegals in California work in a variety of industries such as natual resource management, educational support services, software publishing as well as the more common legal services and government employment.
Like Arizona, California regulates who can and cannot legally work as a paralegal in the state. California once classified paralegals as “legal document assistants” (LDA’s) as people who prepare court documents and give legal information (but not advice) to people choosing to act as their own council in legal matters. In California, LDA’s must be registered.
Recently California made the distinction between LDA’s and paralegals because LDA’s were working and calling themselves paralegals although they were not working under direct supervision of an attorney. Therefore California made the distinction between the two and set a minimum qualifications for people wishing to work and/or become paralegals. Those qualifications are:
- Completion of a paralegal certificate program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)
- Completion of 24 semester units of paralegal education at a state-approved or accredited institution
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree in any field combined with one year of law-related experience under the supervision of a three-year California-licensed lawyer or a lawyer working in California’s federal courts