California Paralegal Requirements & Resources
Becoming a Paralegal in California
The State of California has passed the most extensive laws regulating the paralegal profession and these rules are laid out in the California Business and Professions Code Section 6450-6456 detailed below. A paralegal must possess at least one of the following:
- a certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.
- a certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
- a baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California or practiced in the federal courts in the state and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
- a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, a minimum of three years of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
In addition to satisfying these requirements to become a paralegal, paralegals must complete four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in legal ethics and four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in either general law or in an area of specialized law every two years to preserve their status.
Professional Paralegal Associations
Alliance of Legal Document Assistant Professionals (ALDAP)
ALDAP is a California non-profit, mutual benefit corporation serving registered Legal Document Assistants (LDAs) and freelance paralegal/LDA dual-professionals. ALDAPs mission is to promote the LDA profession by providing seminars for continuing legal education, strengthening professional status by establishing and promoting support for professional standards and regulatory compliance, and communicating with the legal community and the general public.
California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA)
CAPA is a statewide non-profit, mutual benefit corporation dedicated to the advancement of the paralegal profession and the proposition that paralegals gain strength through alliance. CAPA supports, encourages, and promotes an active relationship among its affiliated member associations, attorneys, national, state and local Bar Associations, and others in the legal community.
California Association of Legal Document Assistants (CALDA)
Formerly California Association of Independent Paralegals
Central Coast Paralegal Association
Commission for Advanced California Paralegal Specialization
FCC Student Paralegal Association
Fresno Paralegal Association
Inland Counties Association of Paralegals
Kern County Paralegal Association
Los Angeles Paralegal Association (LAPA)
The 1,000-member Los Angeles Paralegal Association was formed in 1972 by local paralegals in response to the growing need for an organized professional association throughout the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Region. LAPA was incorporated in October 1977 as a California non-profit mutual benefit corporation.
NALS of Orange County
NALS of Orange County is the Orange County, California chapter of NALS…the association for legal professionals, the national association founded in 1949. We are a nonunion, nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and nonprofit association for persons employed in the legal field.
Orange County Paralegal Association (OCPA)
The Orange County Paralegal Association (OCPA) was formed in 1977 in response to a growing need for an organized professional association for paralegals. Originally formed as a section of the Orange County Bar Association, OCPA became an independent, voluntary, non-profit corporation in 1986 for paralegals interested in furthering their professional development.
Paralegal Association of Santa Clara County (PASCCO)
Founded in 1978, PASCCO is a professional and educational organization for legal assistants. The majority of members are paralegals employed by Santa Clara County law firms, corporations, and governmental agencies.
Redwood Empire Association of Paralegals
Sacramento Valley Paralegal Association (SVPA)
The Sacramento Valley Paralegal Association (formerly the Sacramento Association of Legal Assistants) was founded in 1978 as a professional and educational organization for paralegals, and was incorporated in 1981 under the California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation laws.
San Diego Paralegal Association (SDPA)
Founded in 1977 and originally called the San Diego Association of Legal Assistants (SDALA), SDPA changed its name in 2000. SDPA was founded as a professional organization for paralegals working in San Diego.
San Francisco Paralegal Association (SFPA)
The San Francisco Paralegal Association (SFPA) is a non-profit organization comprised of individual members. The purposes are to represent the paralegal profession as an independent, self-directed profession, to enable paralegals to enhance their professional development and to support the expansion of the delivery of legal services in an economic and efficient manner.
Santa Barbara Paralegal Association
Ventura County Paralegal Association