VIRGINIA UPL OPINION 129


Paralegals Under Attorneys' Supervision.

You have inquired as to whether paralegals employed by non-profit organizations, providing services to and under the supervision of attorneys on behalf of the organization, which service is ultimately for the benefit of individuals represented by outside attorneys, constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

The Committee feels that the answer is in the negative, so long as the paralegal work product is for or under the direction of the attorney, be it an internal attorney, or outside. The paralegal, of course, cannot provide advice or service directly to the client or members of the general public, as that would clearly constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

It is our suggestion that the paralegal, either through oral communication, stationery, or cards, makes it clear to any third parties that they are members of the non-profit organization, but are, indeed, paralegals/investigators, and they are not attorneys.

Committee Opinion
February 22, 1989

 

Updated: Aug 28, 2006