Definition of a Paralegal


A paralegal is a person qualified through education, training, or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency, or other entity in a capacity or function which involves the performance, under the ultimate direction and supervision of an attorney. A paralegal handles specifically delegated substantive legal work, which, for the most part, requires a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts that, absent such assistance, an attorney would perform their own.

As stated by the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, the terms paralegal and legal assistant are considered synonymous and are used interchangeably.