Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 14:43:56 -0400
From: Fred Shapiro
Subject: Re: paralegal

On Fri, 1 May 1998, Mark Mandel wrote:

> But this is clearly a different sense from the modern one, which is pretty
well defined in Barry's citation (BUSINESS
> WEEK, 26 December 1970, pg. 62):
> ===
> Fred Shapiro's 1969 "'paralegal' or 'sublegal' personnel" are people not in
the legal profession (e.g., "welfare workers,
> insurance adjusters, and probation officers") whose work requires some
knowledge of law, which (I infer) the article is
> proposing that lawyers offer them. Furthermore, the scare quotes and
alternative term "sublegal" show pretty clearly
> that the words are not well established. They suggest that they are being
tentatively proposed as names for these
> members of tangential professions, with whom the article proposes the
establishment of a formal relationship.
> In contrast, Barry's (and Paul Shapiro et al.'s) 1970 graduates (certificatees
[?!], finishers, products...) of the Institute of
> Paralegal Training *are* what we currently call paralegals, handling research
and administrative chores for lawyers and
> under their direct supervision. The name is viewed as settled, at least by the
founders of the institute, and is presumably
> derived as a specialization of "paraprofessional".
> I'd say that the 1969 cite is a stillbirth, a proposed neologism that didn't
catch on, distinct in meaning from the 1970
> homonym that did.

Your point is well-taken, in fact after I posted my message I was
wondering myself whether this was really the same sense of _paralegal_ as
the contemporary one. Well, here is another 1969 cite that is much closer
to the contemporary meaning:

1969 _Journal of Urban Law_ 47: 137 While much of the work of the
non-professionals was supportive, there were times when the legal
assistants actually fulfilled the expectation that para-legal aides could
perform as independent advocates.

Fred R. Shapiro Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
and Lecturer in Legal Research ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ISBN 0-19-509547-2