WHO REGULATES PARALEGALS IN CALIFORNIA?

Currently, there is no entity regulating paralegals. A paralegal in California is responsible for acting ethically and maintaining the appropriate educational and work experience requirements, along with the CLE requirements outlined in California Business & Professions Code §§ 6450-6456. However, under California Business & Professions Code § 6451, “It is unlawful for a paralegal to perform any services except under the direction and supervision of the attorney, law firm, corporation, government agency, or other entity that employs or contracts with the paralegal.” Under California Business & Professions Code § 6452(a), “[i]t is unlawful for a person to identify himself or herself as a paralegal on any advertisement, letterhead, business card or sign, or elsewhere unless he or she has met the qualifications of subdivision (c) of Section 6450…”

Additionally, under California Business & Professions Code § 6452(b),an attorney who uses the services of a paralegal is liable for any harm caused as the result of the paralegal’s negligence, misconduct, or violation of this chapter. Finally, California Business & Professions Code § 6455(a) states:

[a]ny consumer injured by a violation of this chapter may file a complaint and seek redress in superior court for injunctive relief, restitution, and damages. Attorney’s fees shall be awarded in this action to the prevailing plaintiff.
Further, Subsection (b) states:

[a]ny person who violates the provisions of Section 6451 or 6452 is guilty of an infraction for the first violation, which is punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) as to each consumer with respect to whom a violation occurs, and is guilty of a misdemeanor for the second and each subsequent violation, which is punishable upon conviction by a fine of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) as to each consumer with respect to whom a violation occurs, or imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be ordered by the court to pay restitution to the victim pursuant to Section 1202.4 of the Penal Code.

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