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 greatly on these men and women to get things right. That means having a firm grasp on the facts and the law.
History of National Paralegal Day
Whether you call yourself a paralegal or a legal assistant, the work is basically 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. If you’re currently working in the profession or considering working as a paralegal in the future, 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, affidavits and more, 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 it’s difficult to find an American source for National Paralegal Day, you can get a specific card from Hallmark. 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
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.
Governor George Deukmejian signed a proclamation declaring an official “California Paralegal Day."
NFPA launches the first website dedicated to the paralegal profession.
Licensed paralegals were endorsed and recognized as officers of the court, meaning they have 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 honors 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 there were paralegals 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 even law school.
3 Things Paralegals Do Daily
A paralegal may have to conduct interviews with potential witnesses and take notes to summarize testimony.
Drafting legal documents
From complaints and subpoenas to pretrial orders and legal briefs, most of their days are spent drafting these documents.
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 team.
The day serves as 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 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.
National Paralegal Day dates