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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76741 Find in a Library
Title: Interface Between the Paraprofessional and the Professional Some Reflections on the Lawyer and the Community Legal Services Paralegal Worker (From Public Sector Paralegalism in Canada Today, P 19-54, 1979 - See NCJ-76739)
Author(s): N Gold
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 36
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This Canadian paper delineates the essential characteristics of two intertwined professions--the lawyer and the community legal services paralegal worker--and comments on the value and place of professional attitudes toward paralegalism; it also considers areas of unauthorized practice for paralegals.
Abstract: All professions are characterized by (1) systematic theory, (2) authority, (3) community sanction, (4) ethical codes, and (5) culture. In the area of systematic theory, lawyers tend to view their knowledge as a professional possession that is withheld from the public until persons who must act within a legal context pay for a lawyer to use his/her knowledge on their behalf. The paralegal tends to view legal knowledge, not as doctrine to be guarded and dispensed by 'acolytes,' but as information rightly belonging to the public. Whereas the lawyer tends to guard and reinforce professional authority in dealing with clients, the paraprofessional encourages citizens to assume personal responsibility for legal actions. The lawyer is a member of a professional group sanctioned by the community, but the public paralegal is not a member of a professional group, and while the lawyer is expected to operate according to a regulative code of ethics, there is no such code applicable to paralegals. Further, the lawyer is involved in a professional culture dedicated to self-preservation and conformity, while the public sector paralegals realize that their power can only derive from a developing coalition of their number dedicated to common goals. For paralegals to develop a distinctive professional role, lawyers and paralegals should cooperatively determine some areas where the paralegals' training may be more appropriate than the lawyers', so that paralegals can operate with or without supervision by lawyers. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Canada; Comparative analysis; Paralegals; Professional conduct and ethics; Professionalization; United States of America
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