By: The NBI Team
Friday, October 21, 2022
October 23rd is National Paralegal Day
Sunday, October 23rd is National Paralegal Day. From fielding phone calls from prospective clients to exhaustively organizing everything needed for complicated, multi-day trials, paralegals perform several essential functions that keep busy law firms functioning. Though one day simply isn’t enough to provide recognition to these hardworking professionals, there are still several things you can do.
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing out of the way. Providing free caffeinated beverages will always be appreciated by many paralegals!
What is National Paralegal Day?
National Paralegal Day is celebrated every October 23rd to recognize the hard work paralegals perform every day. It is a day to celebrate the contributions paralegals make to the legal community. Paralegals are the lifeblood of many law firms. They perform a variety of tasks that help keep the wheels of justice spinning and cases smoothly moving through the legal system. The work of many attorneys would be much more difficult without these dedicated legal professionals.
Though it does not appear on federal lists of national special days and holidays, several states recognize it. Texas, North Carolina and several others designate this day as a state paralegal day. Other states, such as California, recognize other days of the year as paralegal day. Whether or not it is recognized on the federal level, we all owe a debt of gratitude to paralegals around the nation. They are the glue behind the scenes of many firms that helps keep things together.
When Did National Paralegal Day Begin?
It is unclear where or when National Paralegal Day began. State recognition of paralegals dates at least to 1988, though many state paralegal days may have first occured earlier. Greeting cards are available celebrating the day.
What is the History of the Paralegal Profession?
The history of non-attorneys performing tasks at the behest of lawyers goes back a long way. The employer of Bartleby, the Scrivener in Herman Melville’s eponymously named short story from the 1850’s, was an unnamed lawyer on Wall Street. It goes without saying, but today’s legal assistants are generally more willing to support their attorneys than poor Bartleby.
Many early legal assistants went on to become lawyers themselves. Apprenticeship under a lawyer, rather than law school, was how most attorneys entered the profession from the inception of the United States and into the late 19th century. The last Supreme Court Justice to serve an apprenticeship and work as a legal assistant rather than attend law school was James F. Byrnes, appointed in 1941. He got his start as a law clerk in a law firm at the age of fourteen.
The recognition of paralegals as a profession dates to the 1960’s. The American Bar Association first endorsed the use of paralegals in 1967. They established their first paralegal committee in 1968. The National Association of Legal Assistants, one of the oldest Paralegal organizations in the United States, was first incorporated in 1975. The paralegal profession has grown exponentially in the past 50 years. It will continue to grow even more over the next ten years.
What Can You do to Celebrate National Paralegal Day?
There are a number of things you can do to express your gratitude on National Paralegal Day. From cards to coffee and beyond, paralegals are sure to be appreciative!
Some companies make greeting cards specifically for National Paralegal Day. You can even create personalized messages for that special paralegal in your life.
Who doesn’t need a pick-me-up every once in a while? Legal work of all sorts can be challenging, and paralegals often burn the candle at both ends. Coffee or coffee shop gift cards are always appreciated.
Donuts, Danishes or other sweet treats are an effective way to show appreciation – barring any dietary restrictions, of course.
Training and Development Opportunities
Investing in paralegal training is an excellent way to express your gratitude. Well-trained employees return that gratitude by staying longer. 94% of employees said they would stay at their company longer if they are provided with adequate training.
Consider training your paralegals through The Institute for Paralegal Education. IPE offers paralegal-specific training on a number of different topics and across several formats.
Gift cards, meals or other similar things are effective ways to convey your gratitude to paralegals. If you run a firm, bonuses for your paralegals may even be in order, depending on the situation.
Though their dedication and hard work deserves more than just a single day, be sure to recognize paralegals’ numerous contributions to the legal community for National Paralegal Day.