Current ABA Definition of Paralegal

At the February 2020 ABA Midyear meeting, the ABA's policy making body, the House of Delegates, adopted the current definition of paralegal, as recommended by the Standing Committee on Paralegals. The current definition reads as follows:

A paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.


The current definition replaces the definition adopted by the House of Delegates in 1997. This updated definition removes the term "legal assistant" in order to reflect terminology that more accurately represents the type of substantive work that paralegals perform.