One of my areas of research is the development of the paralegal profession in other countries. In many paralegals serve a different function than that served here in the U.S. This article from the Punjab Newsline has an almost military tone when describing people volunteering to serve as paralegals:
Thursday, March 29, 2012 – 14:15
By Harish K Monga
FEROZPEUR : In the judicial complex of Ferozepur, the 6th session training of 4th paralegal volunteers was given to different category of people under the leadership of Rekha Mittal, District and Session Judge, Ferozepur, with the motive of training them as Paralegal Volunteers.
Karnail Singh, Civil Judge Senior Divison cum-Secretary District Legal Services Authority, Ferozepur gave the knowledge to the volunteers on cases relating to civil laws, cheque dishonour and the schemes being run under the District Legal Service Authority.
On this occasion, Harish Umar, Civil Judge, Junior Division, Surinder Sachdeva, ADA Legal, K.D.Syal, President Bar Association, Ferozepur were also present. Karnail Singh hailed the volunteers to work for the betterment of the society and motivated them to make people aware about the legal rights and duties. He said that these trained paralegal volunteers will be put on duty at legal aid clinics being opened at the village level and thirty volunteers were also issued the identity cards on this occasion.
There are some common threads in all countries though. For example, just as in Punjab, American paralegals are “hailed…to work for the betterment of the society and motivated them to make people aware about the legal rights and duties.” I and other bloggers such as The Paralegal Mentor and Chere Estrin of “The Estrin Report” do some of the hailing, but more so the various paralegal professional associations such as NFPA, NALA, and NALS, all of which feature these as parts of their ethical codes and mission statements. But I think the drive to work for the betterment of society and motivation to make people aware of their legal rights and duties is so common to those who chose paralegalism as a career (as opposed to as just a job) that it must be an inherent trait.