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Which title? Paralegal or legal assistant

Both terms are used interchangeably. If one of them means that the person has obtained a certificate after appropriate training, then why are those certificates referred to as “paralegal certification?” A tautology?

Someone explained to me that any person could be a “para-legal,” such as a filing clerk or a medical records analyst or a litigation support technician. The term “legal assistant,” according to this person is limited to those people who work with a lawyer on law-related, substantive matters. I don’t know. I welcome the opinions or answers of readers.

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One response to “Which title? Paralegal or legal assistant”

  1. NYC2SA says:

    Couselor – I have to disgree – In most BigLaw firm refer to their experienced legal aides as paralegals whereas the Legal Assistant is generally a clerk.
    The terms are clearly interchangeable and have become murkier – some hi-end firms white-shoe firm prefer the term paralegal since they generally use the term law clerk for those law students or law grads awaiting bar admission and don’t want any confusion between the classifications