Paralegal vs. Legal Assistant?

Yes, the debate continues, with one more resolution in favor of "paralegal":

"Last month, Keystone Alliance members [consortium of Pennsylvania associations] changed its definition of ‘paralegal’ to the following: ‘A paralegal is a person who is qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work requiring the knowledge of legal concepts and ethics, and is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity to work under the direct supervision of an attorney, or pursuant to state statute, administrative regulation or court authority in a capacity that, in most instances, would be performed by an attorney in the absence of a paralegal.’

"The change in the definition, overwhelmingly approved by the Keystone Alliance, removes the language referencing the term of ‘legal assistant.’ The state group has now determined that the term ‘paralegal’ is the term of preference in Pennsylvania. However, the Keystone Alliance is not alone in its stance.


"This change of course continued throughout 2004 and into 2005, when another major professional group — the Legal Assistant Management Association (LAMA) — officially redefined itself as the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA). Simply put, the name change was the result, in part, of a LAMA task force finding that 75 percent of its members opted on the side of the ‘paralegal’ designation."