Project to Create Transatlantic Competency Standards for Paralegals

By Institute Of Paralegals, PRNE
Sunday, November 21, 2010

LONDON, November 22, 2010 - Many UK law firms have an office in the United States of America, and
vice-versa. A significant number of UK and US law firms have merged in a
trend that shows no sign of abating.

Typically such transatlantic firms seek to apply uniform expectations and
standards to all their fee-earners across the firm. To assist firms achieve
this goal, the UK's Institute of Paralegals ( (IOP) is
proud to be partnering with the New York City Paralegal Association
( (NYCPA) to produce paralegal competency standards
relevant to both UK and US paralegals.

The standards, which will be available at no charge, will assist firms to
standardize paralegal recruitment, appraisal, development and competency

World's First International Paralegal Standards Project

This project is the first by paralegal representative bodies to create
international standards. It highlights the growing sophistication of the
paralegal profession in both the UK and US.

About the Project

The IOP and NYCPA have formed a joint working party to create competency
standards for paralegals working in transatlantic law firms. The Standards
will reflect the usual paralegal career structure, being set at introductory,
intermediate and advanced levels.

Modelled upon the IOP's existing UK competency standards (, the
draft transatlantic paralegal competency standards will be circulated for
comment to all UK and US transatlantic firms.

James O'Connell, Chief Executive at the IOP said: "Firms want to treat
their fee-earners in a consistent manner across all their offices. They also
want the same level of performance, competency and professionalism. Our
standards will help firms to identify the core skills and knowledge that they
should require of their paralegals at the various stages of their career."

Nikki Doughty, International Liaison at the NYCPA said: "This project is
a timely response to the increasingly international nature of legal practice.
We hope that firms looking to apply consistent standards to their paralegals
will find the standards helpful. We're aiming to get significant feedback
from firms on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure that the standards are
helpful and relevant."

The IOP and the NYCPA are working to have a first draft available for
circulation to interested parties before the end of January 2011.

Organisations which are already existing members of the IOP's UK
Standards Working Party (
or who have already requested a watching brief will be automatically
included in the consultation.

Note to Editors

1. This project builds upon the successful Competency Standards for
Paralegals produced by the Institute and a working party containing numerous
law firms and others (see list),(

2. For background information on the Institute please visit the Media
Centre (

3. For more information on the NYCPA please click here ( or email Nikki Doughty of the NYCPA at

4. Whilst a growing list of organisations focus on the potentially
lucrative paralegal training market, the Institute consistently works on the
non-commercial aspects of the developing paralegal profession, e.g.
competency standards, career paths, paralegal apprenticeships, management
standards for paralegal law firms, dialogue with the judiciary and Bar about
dealing with paralegals, regulatory matters and offering careers advice and
mentoring programmes to schools etc.

5. The IOP is the largest paralegal professional body in the UK. It is
the oldest incorporated professional body for paralegals in the UK and is the
oldest not-for-profit paralegal body in England & Wales. The IOP was formed
in 2003 and granted institute status by the government in 2005 (its
application being supported by inter alia, The Law Society, Bar Council,
Citizens Advice and Crown Prosecution Service). Visit our web site

6. The Institute also publishes The Paralegal - the UK's leading
publication for all paralegals. For more information click here

(Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste
this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)

    Contact Details

    Any firm or other relevant organisation interested in either being on the
    Joint Standards Working Party or having a watching brief should contact

    James O'Connell at or
    Nikki Doughty at

    Quick Links
    Institute of Paralegals (
    New York City Paralegal Association (
    The Paralegal (

    Institute of Paralegals Contact Information
    Within the United Kingdom phone:

    Outside the United Kingdom phone:

    Within the United Kingdom fax:

    Outside the United Kingdom fax:

    Website ( Email (

    New York City Paralegal Association Contact Information
    Within the United States phone:

    Outside the United States phone:

Institute of Paralegals Contact Information: Within the United Kingdom phone: +44(0)20-7099-9122, Outside the United Kingdom phone: +44-20-7099-9122, Within the United Kingdom fax: +44(0)20-7904-3750, Outside the United Kingdom fax: +44-20-7904-3750, Email (james at; New York City Paralegal Association Contact Information, Within the United States phone: +1(347)586-9272, Outside the United States phone: +1-347-586-9272

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