California was the first state to pass legislation defining the paralegal profession.

This legislation, AB 1761, added Business and Professions Code sections 6450 et al. to the books.  A list of case law and statutes that govern the paralegal profession in California appears below.




California Statutes  

California Business and Professions Code §§ 6060-6069
California paralegal educational programs, considered nonlaw schools, are not subject to the oversight and regulation of the California State Bar Examining Committee. 

California Business and Professions Code §§ 6400-6401.6
California Business and Professions Code sections 6400 et al., regarding legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants, does not apply to California paralegals. 

California Business and Professions Code §§ 6402-6407
Individuals who obtain (1) a certificate of completion from a paralegal program that is institutionally accredited but not approved by the American Bar Association, and that requires successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester units, or the equivalent, in legal specialization courses, or (2) a certificate of completion from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association are eligible to apply for registration as a legal document assistant. 

California Business and Professions Code §§ 6450-6456
Please see "What is a Paralegal?" for more information about California Business and Professions Code sections 6450 et al. 

California Harbor and Navigation Code §§ 700-740
For any order issued in resolution of a disciplinary proceeding in this article, "reasonable costs" shall include, but not be limited to, paralegal fees and costs, including salary, travel, and other expenses attributable to hours expended on the case by employees of the Office of the Attorney General and the Department. 

California Probate Code §§ 2630-2633
Permits attorneys to conservators and guardians of an estate to be compensated, pursuant to an order fixing and allowing compensation for services rendered by a paralegal in filling an account of the administration of the deceased, incapacitated, or absconding guardian or conservator.

California Probate Code §§ 2640-2647
Permits attorneys to conservators and guardians of an estate to be compensated, pursuant to an order fixing and allowing compensation, for services rendered by a paralegal in the ordinary course of business.

California Probate Code §§ 10810-10814
Permits attorneys to conservators and guardians of an estate to be compensated, pursuant to an order fixing and allowing compensation for extraordinary services rendered by a paralegal determined by the court to be "just and reasonable."

California Probate Code §§ 10950-10954
Permits attorneys to conservators and guardians of an estate to be compensated, pursuant to an order fixing and allowing compensation for services rendered by a paralegal in filling an account of the administration of the deceased, incapacitated, or absconding guardian or conservator. 



California Case Law  

Beach Colony II v. California Coastal Com. (1985) 166 Cal.App.3d 106
Fourth Appellate District awarded paralegal fees under Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5. 

Citizens Against Rent Control v. City of Berkeley (1986) 181 Cal.App.3d 213
First Appellate District awarded paralegal fees under Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5.

County of San Luis Obispo v. Abalone Alliance (1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 848
Second Appellate District awarded paralegal fees under Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5 

Guinn v. Dotson (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 262
Fourth Appellate District affirmed the lower court's dismissal but remanded the matter of determining reasonable paralegal fees and confirmed an award of the same under Code of Civil Procedure § 411.35. Fourth Appellate District held that an award of attorney's fees that did not compensate for paralegal fees would not fully compensate the attorney. The legislative intent of attorney's fees statutes were also examined and considerable case law supported the idea that attorney's fees encompassed paralegal fees as well. 

Margolin v. Regional Planning Com. (1982) 134 Cal.App.3d 999
Second Appellate District awards paralegal fees under Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5. 

River Valley Preservation Project v. Metropolitan Transit Development Bd. (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 154
Paralegal fees incurred in preparation of official record were properly awarded under Public Resources Code § 21167.6. 

Salton Bay Marina, Inc. v. Imperial Irrigation Dist. (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 914
Fourth Appellate District awards paralegal fees under Code of Civil Procedure § 1036. 

Sundance v. Municipal Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 268
Second Appellate District awards paralegal fees under Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5. The Court noted the award of paralegal fees had become commonplace in California. 

San Francisco Paralegal Association • 1 Sansome St., Ste. 3500 • San Francisco, CA 94104-4448 • (415) 946-8935 • info@sfpa.com