Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

International Understanding

Monday, August 8th, 2011

You may have heard that the ABA is holding its annual convention in Canada this year. announced today that “The ABA and Canadian Bar Put Their Special Relationship into Writing:”

The U.S. and Canada share perhaps the longest unguarded border of any two countries in the world, running from the Atlantic Ocean across the North American continent. There is an arch spanning one of the many border crossings in sight of the Pacific Ocean south of Vancouver. A message is printed on that arch: “Children of a common mother.”

If that message characterizes the relationship between the U.S. and Canada, it also describes the relationship between the legal communities of the two countries, said leaders of the ABA and the Canadian Bar Association at a special ceremony held today to commemorate that bond.

The ABA is also, according to the story, finalizing a cooperation agreement with the Korean Bar Association.

One thing the two legal systems does not have entirely in common is the utilization of paralegal as in many areas of Canada the term “independent paralegal” has real meaning whereas the ABA recognizes only paralegals working under the supervision of any attorney. Indeed, as many of the posts in the “Canada” category discuss, one Canadian province has started licensing paralegals for some services. Most United States bar associations treat any paralegal activity other than that supervised by an attorney as UPL.

The article reminded me that I also wanted to post about international cooperation among paralegals and paralegal associations. I’ve mentioned before the relationship between the New York City Paralegal Association and the Institute of Paralegal in England.  A recent (although not the current) issues of NYCPA’s Paralegal Buzz includes this news:

New York City Paralegal Association Board Members met with representatives from Japan Federation of Bar Association

On June 28, 2011, a group of NYCPA Board Members met with the Japanese visiting scholar and representatives from Japan Federation of Bar Association (“JFBA”) on their study mission to the United States. In November 2011, JFBA will hold the 17th Symposium on Legal Practice Reform. At the Symposium, one of the topics of discussion will be “The Cultivation of Administrative Staff and Revitalization of Attorneys’ Services: Perspectives on How to Utilize the JFBA’s Training and Competence Accreditation System” on the reform of legal practice.

The mission of the visiting group is to gain a better understanding of the role of paralegals in the United States. During the two-hours meeting, we discussed the role of NYCPA in the community; why and how NYCPA was created; educational, networking and pro bono opportunities provided by NYCPA to its members and community; educational background and training opportunities for paralegals in NYC; accreditation system, work environment and job-based relationships between broad categories of administrative staff and paralegals and attorneys.

The efforts made by NYCPA to connect with their counterparts internationally is quite impressive. I suppose I should be more thrilled than I am with the ABA’s recent efforts. What would thrill me more though is a regular ABA Symposium on Reform of Legal Practice that focused on the utilization of paralegals to revitalize attorney services and help alleviate the access to justice problem.