Professor Tom McClure, the Chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals, recently published a blog on the ABA website presenting his vision for the Standing Committee. He offered six goals for 2021–2022.
First, the Committee should encourage more states to adopt the Model Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegal Services. So far, 12 states and seven state bar associations have adopted versions of the guidelines.
Second, the Committee should update the process for conducting post-pandemic site visits of paralegal education programs by building on the experience of virtual site visits conducted during the pandemic.
Third, the Standing Committee should advocate for Lawyers’ Assistance Programs (LAPs) to provide services to paralegals. LAPs are not-for-profit organizations that provide a variety of mental well-being services to lawyers, judges, law students, and their families concerning substance abuse or stress-related issues. Paralegals often experience similar challenges and would benefit from receiving LAP services.
Fourth, the Standing Committee should recognize outstanding pro bono efforts provided by paralegals and paralegal education programs.
Fifth, the committee should increase its efforts to educate states, contemplating licensing Limited Legal Professionals, about ABA-approved paralegal education programs.
Sixth, the Standing Committee should collaborate with entities within the ABA as well as national paralegal organizations to achieve common objectives.