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January 25

Tasks Paralegals Generally CAN NOT Perform

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Paralegals play a crucial role in the legal system, assisting attorneys in various tasks. However, there are specific legal tasks they are prohibited from performing. These limitations are designed to ensure that legal advice and representation are provided only by qualified attorneys. As with many topics in the legal arena, prohibited paralegal tasks vary from one jurisdiction to another, so do your research to find out the specifics of your jurisdiction.

  1. Providing Legal Advice: Paralegals cannot offer legal advice. This is the exclusive domain of licensed attorneys. Legal advice includes interpreting laws, offering opinions on legal matters, or recommending specific courses of action in legal matters.
  2. Representing Clients in Court: Paralegals are not permitted to represent clients in court. This task is reserved for licensed attorneys. Paralegals may assist in preparing documents and organizing evidence, but they cannot speak on behalf of a client in a courtroom setting.
  3. Setting Legal Fees: Paralegals are not authorized to set legal fees or negotiate fees with clients. This is a decision that must be made by the supervising attorney.
  4. Signing Legal Documents: While paralegals can prepare many legal documents, they cannot sign these documents on behalf of an attorney. Documents that require an attorney’s signature, such as pleadings or legal briefs, must be signed by the attorney, not the paralegal.
  5. Establishing Attorney-Client Relationship: Paralegals cannot establish an attorney-client relationship. This is an agreement that must be made directly between the attorney and the client.

Understanding these boundaries is crucial for paralegals to maintain legal compliance and support the ethical practice of law. Their role is to support and assist attorneys, but not to act as attorneys themselves.


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