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Paralegals and the American Bar Association

Although we think of the paralegal profession as somewhat "new," the American Bar Association endorsed the use of paralegals in 1967 and established its first committee on paralegals in 1968.

Since 1975, the ABA has approved paralegal programs that satisfy the rigorous standards of the ABA Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs. Guideline G-106 states that "a paralegal program will be considered for approval when it has been fully operational for two years and has graduated students." The USD Paralegal Program began shortly after these guidelines were published and was granted full approval in May 1977.

At about the same time, the American Bar Association arranged a Standing Committee to oversee the education, employment, training and effective use of paralegals.

Additionally an Approval Commission was appointed "to foster high quality paralegal education and training and to develop educational standards." The Standing Committee also lends its support to the American Association for Paralegal Education, the national trade association of paralegal educators, and maintains close contact with national and local paralegal associations and other law-related associations.

Due to the excellent reputation of the USD Paralegal Program, Director Sue Sullivan, was elected president of AAfPE in 1992 and served on the ABA Approval Commission from 1993-1999. During her tenure she was instrumental in the development of new Guidelines for Approval, including standard reporting and exhibit forms. Sullivan continues to serve as an educational consultant and assists programs nationwide in providing quality paralegal education to their students.

Visit www.abalegalassistants.org or www.aafpe.org for additional information.

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