National Paralegal Day, an annual event on October 23, celebrates those who do the legal research (and mountains of paperwork) that enables law firms to function. Attorneys, who are ultimately responsible for a paralegal’s work, depend significantly on these men and women to get things right. That means having a firm grasp of the facts and the law.
History of National Paralegal Day
Whether you call yourself a paralegal or a legal assistant, the work is the same — to be an essential part of an attorney’s administrative team. As the need for attorneys continues to grow, skilled paralegals are increasingly in demand. Suppose you’re working in the profession or considering working as a paralegal. In that case, National Paralegal Day has abundant information to get you up to speed on what the job entails and what kinds of certifications (if any) are required.
As far back as the early 1970s, interest was stirred about the need for an organized group of paralegals and legal assistants. This challenging job involves preparing and copying boatloads of legal documents like wills, real estate closings, and affidavits, assisting attorneys with cases and trial prep and working with clients. But in the 70s, there was a general feeling among the workers that despite their expertise, attorneys didn’t always respect that work.
In 1973, the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) produced a series of seminars and workshops for people who helped lawyers in law offices. Eventually, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) brought in about 15 other member organizations, established a code of ethics for paralegals and created a task force on credentialing criteria. Today the NFPA is comprised of 50 member organizations and 9000 individual members.
Although finding an American source for National Paralegal Day is challenging, you can get a specific card from Hallmark. So, bottom line, the next time you find yourself in a law office, smile nicely to the worker bees who make it all happen, the certified paralegals.
National Paralegal Day Timeline
October 23, 1981
“The Paralegal Division of The State Bar of Texas” was created
This was where it all started. The State Bar of Texas created “The Paralegal Division of The State Bar of Texas,” making it the first U.S. bar association to create a separate division for paralegals.
California Paralegal Day
Governor George Deukmejian signed a proclamation declaring an official “California Paralegal Day.”
Paralegals.org is the first of its kind
NFPA launched the first website dedicated to the paralegal profession.
Ontario gives paralegals official recognition.
Licensed paralegals were endorsed and recognized as court officers, meaning they had a part in the legal system.
National Paralegal Day Faqs
Is there a National Paralegal Day?
National Paralegal Day occurs annually on October 23. The day honours the work of paralegals and legal assistants in law offices throughout the United States.
Are paralegals in high demand?
Definitely! The paralegal profession is one of the highest-demand jobs in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession is expected to grow 12% over the next decade.
Do paralegals go to court?
Paralegals may sit in court to assist an attorney, but they can’t sign papers or speak on behalf of either the client or the attorney.
How To Observe National Paralegal Day
- Send a thank you card
- If you’ve recently worked with a law office or attorney, chances are paralegals were working on your case until the wee hours of the night. Let them know you appreciate their help with a handwritten thank you note. There’s nothing sweeter.
- Send a sweet treat to a local law office
- We lied. There can be something sweeter than a card, and that’s a basket of baked goods. If you’re not a baker, you can always have some cookies or fruit delivered to a local law office near you. Just be sure to note it’s for the paralegals on their special day.
- Consider it for a new career
- Looking to jump-start your career? Paralegal training courses exist both online and in-person. This could be your first step towards a great gig or law school.
3 Things Paralegals Do Daily
- Client interviews
- A paralegal may have to conduct interviews with potential witnesses and take notes to summarize testimony.
- Drafting legal documents
- Most of their days are spent drafting these documents, from complaints and subpoenas to pretrial orders and legal briefs.
- Legal research and presentations
- They assist lawyers by gathering and analyzing information on the case — as well as relevant laws, precedents, and prior judicial decisions.
Why National Paralegal Day Is Important
- There’s no “I” in the team.
- The day is a good reminder that it’s a team rather than just an attorney at work. Though the lawyer calls the (legal) shots, their arguments wouldn’t be possible without the help of the paralegal.
- Appreciation equals motivation
- It shows paralegals that their tasks as assistants, researchers, and interviewers all matter, and the work doesn’t go unnoticed. Appreciation usually promotes a better work ethic.
- Two words that could solve a case faster: Thank you.
- Expressing gratitude at the office can improve work relationships and connections, according to research done by consultants. This, in turn, helps the attorneys accomplish their goals more efficiently.