What is a Licensed Paralegal?
The client of a Solicitor or Barrister needs to know that whoever deals with their problem within a firm, is capable of performing it to the same extent as any other member of the firm, at that level. It is a question of credibility. Clients must perceive paralegals to be credible.
Clients need to be satisfied with the work done for them. In the case of un-admitted staff, they will be in the hands of a competent member of staff who is qualified, experienced and who is as dedicated. A Licensed Paralegal works to be up to a required standard set by the NALP.
Aims of Licensing
The aim of the licensing provisions is to provide for the regulation of our members in order to bring them in line with the rest of the legal profession.
Whereas anyone can call themselves a 'paralegal', only those who can fulfil the criteria laid down by the association can call themselves a 'Licensed Paralegal'. By gaining qualifications and experience, paralegals can work, through the association, towards gaining the coveted goal of being licensed.
Once a Licence has been attained, a Licensed Paralegal has the right to practice from High Street offices offering legal services directly to members of the public, provided they have the appropriate insurance (such as indemnity insurance)
Background to Licensing
As a result of the introduction by the Government of a review of legal services by Sir David Clementi in 2004, the association, after consultation, published its strategic plan for the self-regulation of the paralegal profession by way of licensing.
This was implemented in 2005 following the publication of the Clementi Report and accordingly the association was restructured as "The National Association of Licensed Paralegals" and commenced issuing licenses to those paralegals who could satisfy the Licensing Criteria laid down by the association, of knowledge, competence, dedication, good character and continuing professional development.
The association provides this as the bench-mark in England and Wales for the qualified, experienced and dedicated paralegal. As a result, the association now caters for all paralegals, at whatever stage they have reached in their career development.
Licensed Paralegals give clients confidence of their abilities
Solicitors and other employers can advertise the fact that their support staff are members of a regulatory body and are licensed.