California Lawyers Association

State Bar Paraprofessional Program Working Group Moving Forward

The California Paraprofessional Program Working Group most recently met on April 19, 2021. The group is working on a variety of items to create a paraprofessional licensure/certification program that it hopes will launch in January 2023.

The group is currently focused on developing a regulatory infrastructure, selection of practice areas and tasks, and planning for implementation. The California Lawyers Association (CLA) has been actively engaged with this process since the formative stages, when the State Bar was considering the idea of licensed paraprofessionals, but before the Working Group was created. CLA urged caution prior to implementing any changes and expressed concerns that if the appropriate balance is not struck, permitting nonlawyers to provide legal advice or services may result in greater harm than good for consumers.

The State Bar ultimately created the Working Group, which includes a CLA representative. We have been actively involved with the Working Group from the outset, making efforts to help shape any paraprofessional program – assuming such a program moves forward – to appropriately balance all of the relevant concerns.

This Working Group is charged with developing recommendations for the creation of a paraprofessional licensure and certification program, including potential changes to rules and statutes governing the unauthorized practice of law to allow paraprofessionals to provide legal advice and representation and anticipates issuing a report and recommendations in late September 2021, followed by a public comment period. 

The meetings of the Working Group are open to the public and provide opportunities for public comments. A list of upcoming meetings is available here. You can subscribe to the Working Group email list to receive meeting notifications here. There continue to be opportunities to have your voices heard. We encourage you to submit comments directly to the State Bar and to CLA, so we can consider your feedback as this process unfolds. Additional information and details concerning the proposed paraprofessional program, including resolutions adopted by the Working Group to date, can be found on CLA’s California Paraprofessional Program Working Group Resource Page.

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