WHAT IS CALIFORNIA AB 1761?

In January 2000, Assembly Members Marilyn Brewer and Rod Pacheco introduced Assembly Bill 1761 to establish the qualifications for practice as a paralegal and make it unlawful for any person to identify himself or herself as a paralegal unless he or she meets those qualifications and performs all services under the direct supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California. The Bill also makes a paralegal subject to the same confidentiality requirements as an attorney. The bill also sought to make it unlawful for a paralegal to perform any services for a consumer, except as directed by an attorney or entity employing or contracting with the paralegal. Furthermore, it prohibited a paralegal from performing various acts, including giving legal advice, representing a client in court, and acting as a runner or capper. The Bill also made an attorney using a paralegal’s services liable for the negligence or misconduct of the paralegal. Finally, the Bill provided for the recovery of attorney’s fees in a civil action brought in connection with a violation of these provisions. The Bill was codified and signed by Gov. Gray Davis in September 2000 and was effective as California Business and Professions Code § 6450, et seq. on January 1, 2004

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