BILL NUMBER: AB 1761	CHAPTERED
	BILL TEXT

	CHAPTER   439
	FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE   SEPTEMBER 14, 2000
	APPROVED BY GOVERNOR   SEPTEMBER 13, 2000
	PASSED THE ASSEMBLY   AUGUST 25, 2000
	PASSED THE SENATE   AUGUST 24, 2000
	AMENDED IN SENATE   AUGUST 18, 2000
	AMENDED IN SENATE   JUNE 20, 2000
	AMENDED IN SENATE   JUNE 12, 2000
	AMENDED IN SENATE   JUNE 7, 2000
	AMENDED IN SENATE   JUNE 5, 2000
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY   MAY 1, 2000
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY   APRIL 24, 2000
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY   APRIL 4, 2000
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY   MARCH 20, 2000

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Members Brewer and Rod Pacheco
   (Coauthors:  Assembly Members Cunneen and Maldonado)
   (Coauthor:  Senator Speier)

                        JANUARY 18, 2000

   An act to add Chapter 5.6 (commencing with Section 6450) to
Division 3 of, and to repeal Section 6450 of, the Business and
Professions Code, relating to professions and vocations.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 1761, Brewer.  Professions and vocations:  paralegals.
   Existing law defines the qualifications for and regulates the
practice of various professions and vocations.
   This bill would establish the qualifications for practice as a
paralegal and make it unlawful for any person to identify himself or
herself as a paralegal unless he or she meets those qualifications
and performs all services under the direct supervision of an active
member of the State Bar of California.  This bill would also make a
paralegal subject to the same confidentiality requirements as an
attorney.
   This bill would in addition make it unlawful for a paralegal to
perform any services for a consumer, as defined, except as directed
by the attorney or entity employing or contracting with the
paralegal.  This bill would prohibit a paralegal from performing
various acts, including giving legal advice, representing a client in
court, and acting as a runner or capper.  This bill would make an
attorney using a paralegal's services liable for the negligence or
misconduct of the paralegal.  This bill would provide for the
recovery of attorney's fees in a civil action brought in connection
with a violation of these provisions.
   Because a violation of the bill's provisions would be punishable
as an infraction or as a misdemeanor, as specified, this bill would
impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
  The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state.  Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


  SECTION 1.  Chapter 5.6 (commencing with Section 6450) is added to
Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:

      CHAPTER 5.6.  PARALEGALS

   6450.  (a) "Paralegal" means a person who either contracts with or
is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental
agency, or other entity and who performs substantial legal work under
the direction and supervision of an active member of the State Bar
of California, as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing
law in the federal courts of this state, that has been specifically
delegated by the attorney to him or her.  Tasks performed by a
paralegal include, but are not limited to, case planning,
development, and management; legal research; interviewing clients;
fact gathering and retrieving information; drafting and analyzing
legal documents; collecting, compiling, and utilizing technical
information to make an independent decision and recommendation to the
supervising attorney; and representing clients before a state or
federal administrative agency if that representation is permitted by
statute, court rule, or administrative rule or regulation.
   (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a paralegal shall not do any
of the following:
   (1) Provide legal advice.
   (2) Represent a client in court.
   (3) Select, explain, draft, or recommend the use of any legal
document to or for any person other than the attorney who directs and
supervises the paralegal.
   (4) Act as a runner or capper, as defined in Sections 6151 and
6152.
   (5) Engage in conduct that constitutes the unlawful practice of
law.
   (6) Contract with, or be employed by, a natural person other than
an attorney to perform paralegal services.
   (7) In connection with providing paralegal services, induce a
person to make an investment, purchase a financial product or
service, or enter a transaction from which income or profit, or both,
purportedly may be derived.
   (8) Establish the fees to charge a client for the services the
paralegal performs, which shall be established by the attorney who
supervises the paralegal's work.  This paragraph does not apply to
fees charged by a paralegal in a contract to provide paralegal
services to an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency,
or other entity as provided in subdivision (a).
   (c) A paralegal shall possess at least one of the following:
   (1) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by
the American Bar Association.
   (2) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a
degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful
completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in
law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or
regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for
Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
   (3) A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a
minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision
of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of
California for at least the preceding three years or who has
practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the
preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney
stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
   (4) A high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, a
minimum of three years of law-related experience under the
supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State
Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has
practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the
preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney
stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
This experience and training shall be completed no later than
December 31, 2003.
   (d) All paralegals shall be required to certify completion every
three years of four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in
legal ethics.  All continuing legal education courses shall meet the
requirements of Section 6070.  Every two years, all paralegals shall
be required to certify completion of four hours of mandatory
continuing education in either general law or in a specialized area
of law.  Certification of these continuing education requirements
shall be made with the paralegal's supervising attorney.  The
paralegal shall be responsible for keeping a record of the paralegal'
s certifications.
   (e) A paralegal does not include a nonlawyer who provides legal
services directly to members of the public or a legal document
assistant or unlawful detainer assistant as defined in Section 6400.

   (f) If a legal document assistant, as defined in subdivision (c)
of Section 6400, has registered, on or before January 1, 2001, as
required by law, a business name that includes the word "paralegal,"
that person may continue to use that business name until he or she is
required to renew registration.
   (g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1,
2004, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted
statute, which is enacted before January 1, 2004, deletes or extends
that date.
   6450.  (a) "Paralegal" means a person who either contracts with or
is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental
agency, or other entity and who performs substantial legal work under
the direction and supervision of an active member of the State Bar
of California, as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing
law in the federal courts of this state, that has been specifically
delegated by the attorney to him or her.  Tasks performed by a
paralegal include, but are not limited to, case planning,
development, and management; legal research; interviewing clients;
fact gathering and retrieving information; drafting and analyzing
legal documents; collecting, compiling, and utilizing technical
information to make an independent decision and recommendation to the
supervising attorney; and representing clients before a state or
federal administrative agency if that representation is permitted by
statute, court rule, or administrative rule or regulation.
   (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a paralegal shall not do the
following:
   (1) Provide legal advice.
   (2) Represent a client in court.
   (3) Select, explain, draft, or recommend the use of any legal
document to or for any person other than the attorney who directs and
supervises the paralegal.
   (4) Act as a runner or capper, as defined in Sections 6151 and
6152.
   (5) Engage in conduct that constitutes the unlawful practice of
law.
   (6) Contract with, or be employed by, a natural person other than
an attorney to perform paralegal services.
   (7) In connection with providing paralegal services, induce a
person to make an investment, purchase a financial product or
service, or enter a transaction from which income or profit, or both,
purportedly may be derived.
   (8) Establish the fees to charge a client for the services the
paralegal performs, which shall be established by the attorney who
supervises the paralegal's work.  This paragraph does not apply to
fees charged by a paralegal in a contract to provide paralegal
services to an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency,
or other entity as provided in subdivision (a).
   (c) A paralegal shall possess at least one of the following:
   (1) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by
the American Bar Association.
   (2) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a
degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful
completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in
law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or
regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for
Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
   (3) A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a
minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision
of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of
California for at least the preceding three years or who has
practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the
preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney
stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
   (4) A high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, a
minimum of three years of law-related experience under the
supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State
Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has
practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the
preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney
stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
This experience and training shall be completed no later than
December 31, 2003.
   (d) All paralegals shall be required to certify completion every
three years of four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in
legal ethics.  All continuing legal education courses shall meet the
requirements of Section 6070.  Every two years, all paralegals shall
be required to certify completion of four hours of mandatory
continuing education in either general law or in a specialized area
of law.  Certification of these continuing education requirements
shall be made with the paralegal's supervising attorney.  The
paralegal shall be responsible for keeping a record of the paralegal'
s certifications.
   (e) A paralegal does not include a nonlawyer who provides legal
services directly to members of the public, or a legal document
assistant or unlawful detainer assistant as defined in Section 6400,
unless the person is a person described in subdivisions (a) and (b).

   (f) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2004.
   6451.  It is unlawful for a paralegal to perform any services for
a consumer except as performed under the direction and supervision of
the attorney, law firm, corporation, government agency, or other
entity that employs or contracts with the paralegal.  Nothing in this
section shall prohibit a paralegal who is employed by an attorney,
law firm, governmental agency, or other entity from providing
services to a consumer served by one of these entities if those
services are specifically allowed by statute, case law, court rule,
or federal or state administrative rule or regulation.  "Consumer"
means a natural person, firm, association, organization, partnership,
business trust, corporation, or public entity.
   6452.  (a) It is unlawful for a person to identify himself or
herself as a paralegal on any advertisement, letterhead, business
card or sign, or elsewhere unless he or she has met the
qualifications of subdivision (c) of Section 6450 and performs all
services under the direction and supervision of an attorney who is an
active member of the State Bar of California or an attorney
practicing law in the federal courts of this state who is responsible
for all of the services performed by the paralegal.  The business
card of a paralegal shall include the name of the law firm where he
or she is employed or a statement that he or she is employed by or
contracting with a licensed attorney.
   (b) An attorney who uses the services of a paralegal is liable for
any harm caused as the result of the paralegal's negligence,
misconduct, or violation of this chapter.
   6453.  A paralegal is subject to the same duty as an attorney
specified in subdivision (e) of Section 6068 to maintain inviolate
the confidentiality, and at every peril to himself or herself to
preserve the attorney-client privilege, of a consumer for whom the
paralegal has provided any of the services described in subdivision
(a) of Section 6450.
   6454.  The terms "paralegal," "legal assistant," "attorney
assistant," "freelance paralegal," "independent paralegal," and
"contract paralegal" are synonymous for purposes of this chapter.
   6455.  (a) Any consumer injured by a violation of this chapter may
file a complaint and seek redress in any municipal or superior court
for injunctive relief, restitution, and damages.  Attorney's fees
shall be awarded in this action to the prevailing plaintiff.
   (b) Any person who violates the provisions of Section 6451 or 6452
is guilty of an infraction for the first violation, which is
punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to two thousand five
hundred dollars ($2,500) as to each consumer with respect to whom a
violation occurs, and is guilty of a misdemeanor for the second and
each subsequent violation, which is punishable upon conviction by a
fine of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) as to each
consumer with respect to whom a violation occurs, or imprisonment in
a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and
imprisonment.  Any person convicted of a violation of this section
shall be ordered by the court to pay restitution to the victim
pursuant to Section 1202.4 of the Penal Code.
   6456.  An individual employed by the state as a paralegal, legal
assistant, legal analyst, or similar title, is exempt from the
provisions of this chapter.
  SEC. 2.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution because the
only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district
will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction,
eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime
or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government
Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of
Section 6 of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution.