Utilizing Paralegal Skills in Community Service
Cheryl Jeffs and Laura Summers, J.
The Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar recognizes the value of community service and pro bono activities for paralegals.
Pro bono, short for pro bono publico, translates to “for the public good.” Generally, pro bono means lawyers, law students, and paralegals (under the direct supervision of an attorney) volunteer their time and resources, at no cost, to clients who could not otherwise afford legal counsel. In some cases, lawyers, law students, and paralegals assist organizations involved in social causes.
The Paralegal Division participates in varied non-representational pro bono activities. Non-representational is defined as “civic, educational, and community activities that improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession.”
Paralegals may also assist in legal representation for governmental entities or under-represented individuals, groups, or causes but only under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney.
Examples of how utilization of paralegal skills in community service applies to representational pro bono work include: • Assisting a licensed attorney with direct representation or assisting an attorney who works for a civic, charitable, governmental, educational, or other public-service organization with limited income;
• Assisting a licensed attorney with direct representation for low-income clients through a legal aid office, clinic, or pro bono program;
• Assisting a licensed attorney with direct representation for a group or organization seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights; or
• Assisting a licensed attorney with direct representation for an indigent client where the attorney intentionally opts not to charge before providing legal services.
Examples of how utilization of paralegal skills in community service applies to non-representational pro bono: • Volunteering for law-related work for a federal, state, or local government...