Paralegals Can Help Fix Legal Profession’s Image

ABA Journal.com reports  Only 25% of Americans Have a Positive Image of Lawyers:

Do Americans have a better image of lawyers, bankers or real estate brokers?
Lawyers may take little comfort in the answer.
Only 25 percent of Americans have a positive view of the legal field, according to a new Gallup survey. Only three industries got lower ratings—real estate, automobiles, and oil and gas. Bankers bested lawyers by three percentage points.
The survey asked respondents to indicate whether they held positive or negative views of 25 different industries. The five industries with the worst images, starting with the very worst, were:

  • Oil and gas industry, viewed positively by 21 percent, compared to 15 percent last year.
  • Automobile industry, viewed positively by 24 percent, compared to 29 percent last year.
  • Real estate industry, viewed positively by 24 percent, compared to 16 percent last year.
  • The legal field, viewed positively by 25 percent, compared to 26 percent last year.

While the perception of the legal profession is, to a large degree, dependent on those at the top of the pyramid – the lawyers, paralegals can be an effective force for changing this perception. If paralegals have and project a good, professional perception of themselves, it will ultimately translate into a better perception of the entire legal profession by the public. In fact, I believe it will increase the professionalism of the lawyers with whom the paralegals work. When paralegals meet high standards of professionalism, it raises the bar not only for the paralegal profession but for members of the bar.

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