The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) announced at the end of June that it was implementing a new paralegal certification program. The program will not only make it easier for attorneys to hire well-trained legal staff, but will also bring professional esteem to paralegals in the state.
Right now, there is nothing in Ohio that prevents any individual from calling themselves a paralegal," said OSBA Spokeswoman Kalpana Yalamanchili in a Business First of Columbus
The problem with an individual calling him or herself a paralegal when he or she has not been properly trained or certified comes when these individuals are hired. Not only is it a waste of time and energy to hire a person and then find out that he or she has not been trained in the profession, but hiring an unqualified paralegal also increases the likelihood of the unlicensed practice of law
Being a paralegal is not easy. Dealing up close and personal with the law, paralegals have to know exactly what they can and can't do; or they could get both themselves and the attorneys at their firm into major trouble. Similarly, by posing as paralegals, these people are doing a disservice not only to the attorneys at their firm, but also to the firm's clients as well.
In essence, it's not a profession that should be faked; and Ohio's new paralegal certification program will do away with many of the impostors.
"[C]lients and the public will know that these paralegals meet uniform standards of professionalism," bar President Jane Taylor said in a press release.
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