Paralegal Profession Recognized by Tulsa County Bar Association
Lynne DeVenny at Practical Paralegalism notes that the Tulsa County Bar Association now allows paralegals who meet the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Minimum Qualification Standards for Legal Assistant/Paralegal to become associate members of the association. Lynne correctly notes, “This is a great opportunity for Tulsa paralegals and legal assistants to expand their professional network and educational opportunities.” More important, she states, this is an important recognition, “of the importance of its area paralegals and legal assistants.”
The latter is of the most significance to me, although I do not mean to minimize the networking and educational opportunities. The bar as all to often neglected to recognize not only the importance of paralegals, but the fact that paralegals are, like the lawyers themselves, part of the legal profession. Opening the bar association to paralegals allows the attorneys and paralegals who must work together as a legal team in the law office to associate together as the professionals they are.
One question that arises is whether this step would have been possible without the establishment in 2000 of the minimal qualification standards by the Oklahoma Bar Association. While such standards do not amount to licensing they do, at least, help establish the identity of paralegals as a profession.