Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Jouben on Status of Regulation in Florida

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Among the many people not doing nothing while I’ve been otherwise engage is Elona Jouben who passed on an email dated 05/30 stating, “The effort to regulate paralegals in Florida was voted down by the PEC at last Thursday’s meeting in Key West. No changes to the current program were made and so the voluntary registered paralegal program will continue.” Elona reports this as “good news.” Of course, not everyone agrees with her assessment, but it should be noted that Elona wrote her thesis for her Masters Degree at George Washington University on the topic entitling it, “Compulsory Regulation of Florida Paralegals is Unnecessary.” She also provided a written response to the February 22, 2011 Report of the [Florida Bar] Special Committee to Study Mandatory Paralegal Regulation. There are two important points here:
(1) Whether you agree with Elona’s position or not, her efforts to analyze the issue, articulate and advance her position, illustrate the professionalism that we would like to be exhibited by all paralegals. Each member of the profession should be in the thick of this issue, analyzing, writing, discussing, and advocating for the position that feel will best benefit the profession.
(2) Elona’s thesis, with minimal editing, is included in The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology that I just finished editing and indexing, along with several other well-thought-out position papers on this issue.
Fortunately, the pre-publication reviews for the Anthology and for Elona’s article have been quite good, including this:

“This anthology delivers on the title’s promise: it is a thought-provoking compilation of issues facing paralegals today and a challenge to individual paralegals to embody professionalism as the profession itself grows and develops.”

Florida Paralegal Legislation Nixed

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Just about every paralegal blog and listserv has written about the proposed legislation to license paralegals in Florida except this one. (I know, I know, this one hasn’t had a post about anything in quite awhile.) If you don’t know about it, check out this account in the Estrin Report or this one at Practical Paralegalism or this one from the Paralegal Mentor. I’ve temporarily emerged from the pile of papers and exams I’ve still to grade before commencement exercises on Saturday long enough to chime in with this from Elona Jouben on the Paralegal Todaylistserv:

This was just delivered to my in-box:

As of 05/07/2011, the House Bill 1149 regarding the Regulation of the Paralegal Profession has been “Indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration” and subsequently “Died in Civil Justice Subcommittee”.

I checked the Senate Bill and it has met the same fate.

Elona, by the way, wrote her thesis for her Masters at George Washington University arguing that compulsory regulation of paralegals in Florida is unnecessary. An slightly edited version of that thesis appears as an article in The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology, soon to be available in college bookstores and at online vendors. (As soon as I finish the editing of the galley proofs and complete an index, that is.)

Should NY follow Florida in order to protect banks?

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The first is an article in the New York Public Policy Examiner that asks, “Should Paralegals be required to register with The New York State bar?” The article answers the question affirmatively, suggesting that New York follow Florida’s example (an example which may soon change as Florida is now considering a substantial revision of its program. The writer makes his case in part though based on a concern for fairness for banks that write student loans for paralegal degree students, claiming that hiring non-degreed persons “betrays” those banks! A slightly more valid point is “Employers in the State of New York have a hard time understanding what the law considers as “qualified.” In fact, it’s so troublesome, that many employers are sued for discrimination when they overlook an individual’s qualifications. Although a paralegal is not required to register in the State of Florida, employers can determine a paralegal’s qualifications from their registration with The Florida Bar.” However, most employers of paralegals are attorneys and frankly they should know how to determine whether a potential employee has the necessary qualifications.

The more I study the paralegal profession, the more I come to believe some sort of regulatory scheme would help the paralegal profession, the public, and the legal system, as can be seen from many posts here. (See the “Regulation, Certification and Licensing” category. I’m not ready to sign onto paralegal legal registration as a means of protecting banks and attorneys.