West Valley College Paralegal Program
An ABA-Approved Paralegal Program
California law* sets minimum educational and training requirements for persons who perform paralegal tasks, such as case planning, development, and management; legal research; interviewing clients; fact gathering and retrieving information; and drafting and analyzing legal documents. These requirements apply to paralegals who contract with or are employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, government agency, or other entity.
Evidence of the necessary education and/or training can be shown by one of the following four ways:
A certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program.
A certificate or degree from a paralegal program in a state-approved/accredited institution that requires a minimum of 24-semester units.
A BA/BS degree in any subject & one year of law-related experience under the supervision of a lawyer and a written declaration from this lawyer stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
A high school diploma or GED and three years of law law-related experience under the supervision of a lawyer and a written declaration from this lawyer stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks. This provision sunset on December 31, 2003. The three years of training must have been completed by that date.
In the final two examples above, the lawyer who supervises the employee must, for at least three years prior to supervision, have been licensed in California or have practiced in the California federal courts.
*California Business & Professions Code section 6450 et seq. The Business & Professions Code sections applicable to paralegals can be viewed on the California Codes website at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html