updated: 1/02/01

New Law Requiring Certification of Paralegals (BPC § 6450) & Legal Document Assistants (BPC§ 6400) & Online "Certificates"

Legal Document Assistants
In January 2000, Business and Professions Code Section 6400 became effective. This section regulates Legal Document Assistants.

A Legal Document Assistant is defined in BPC 6400 (c)
(1) Any person who is not exempted under Section 6401 and who
provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to
assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a
member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a
legal matter, or who holds himself or herself out as someone who
offers that service or has that authority.

Paralegals
On Jauary 1, 2001, Business and Professions Code 6450 necame effective. (formerly Assembly Bill AB 1761 was signed by Governor Gray Davis on 9/14/00). This section regulates Paralegals, and defines a Paralegal as:

"Paralegal" means a person who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California, as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing law in the federal courts of this state, that has been specifically
delegated by the attorney to him or her.

Here is a summary of the new law:
Chapter 5.6 (commencing with Section 6450) is added to Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, to read: CHAPTER 5.6. PARALEGALS

1. It establishes the qualifications for practice as a paralegal and make it unlawful for any person to identify himself or herself as a paralegal unless he or she meets those qualifications and performs all services under the direct supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California.

2. A paralegal is subject to the same confidentiality requirements as an
attorney

3. "Paralegal" means a person who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California, as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing law in the federal courts of this state, that has been specifically
delegated by the attorney to him or her.

4. Business and Professions Code § 6450
(c) A paralegal shall possess at least one of the following:
(1) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.
(2) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. (Mission College Paralegal Studies Program certificate qualifies under Section 2 of the new law - L.A. Mission College is approved by the California Department of Education, the Western Association for Schools and Colleges, and is an institutional member of the American Association for Paralegal Education)

Currently for the Spring 2001 Semester, you may enroll, "completely online" in our Mission College Paralegal Program course - Law 1 - Business Law. If you are not a Mission College Student, then you must enroll as a student at Mission College. You can do this online, and here are the steps to do that.

We are working on providing a "completely online" 24 semester Legal Document Assistant Certificate, and a Paralegal Certificate which qualifies you for a certificate under the new laws regulating Legal Document Assistants and Paralegals. We hope to have those certificates in place by Fall 2001. In the meanwhile, you can get started toward the certificate by enrolling in Law 1- Business Law for Spring 2001, and Law 10, along with Law 11. See our Spring 2001 Law Web Page.

Here is some information about our Paralegal Program:

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