The Professional Paralegal and Fees

Brian Craig at the Globe University/Minnesota School of Business Paralegal Program Blog posts an update summarizing recent cases upholding paralegal fees. He starts by noting:

A number of recent cases have upheld fees for paralegals when awarding attorneys’ fees to prevailing parties. Courts look at the reasonable prevailing market rate for awarding fees for paralegal services. Recent cases have upheld awards ranging from $50-$100 per hour for paralegals. In Nadarajah v. Holder, — F.3d —-, 2009 WL 1588678 (9th Cir. Jun. 9, 2009), the Ninth Circuit affirmed an hourly rate of $100 per hour for paralegals.

There are, however, limits to paralegal fees. Courts may reduce the hourly rate based on the given evidence.

This recognition of paralegal professionalism by the courts comes with a corresponding obligation on the part of the paralegal to be profession, effective, efficient and ethical, in performing the work.  There are many aspects to this including time management, solid knowledge of substantive law, and a firm grasp of how to do what needs to be done as well as what needs to be done. Perhaps the best short answer is that  in order to be considered a professional the paralegal must develop and demonstrate a professional work ethic.

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