About This Course
Students who wish to work as paralegals in the state of Montana will need to meet the educational requirements as outlined in Montana Code 25-10-305. Completion of both the post-baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate Course© and at least 4 Advanced Paralegal topics combined with a Bachelors degree in any subject will qualify you to work as a paralegal in the state of Montana.
Our Montana Schools are:
Available Advanced Paralegal topics are:
If you have any questions about Montana Code 25-10-305, please do not hesitate to call us at 800-522-7737 or email us at [email protected].
Montana Code 25-10-305 may be found in a law library, can be viewed online clicking here.
Montana Code Annotated 2021
25-10-305. Paralegal defined — use of title. (1) As used in 25-10-304 and this section, “paralegal” means a person qualified through education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained to perform, under supervision by a licensed attorney, substantive legal work that:
(a) requires a substantial knowledge of legal concepts; and
(b) in the absence of the paralegal, would be performed by an attorney.
(2) An individual may use the title “paralegal” if the individual:
(a) has received an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited institution or a baccalaureate degree in paralegal studies from an accredited college or university;
(b) has received a baccalaureate degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university and has completed not less than 18 semester credits of course work offered by a qualified paralegal studies program;
(c) has received certification by the national association of legal assistants or the national federation of paralegal associations;
(d) has received a high school diploma or its equivalent, has performed not less than 4,800 hours of substantive legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney documented by the certification of the attorney or attorneys under whom the work was done, and has completed at least 5 hours of approved continuing legal education in the area of legal ethics and professional responsibility; or
(e) has graduated from an accredited law school and has not been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law by any jurisdiction.
(3) A person may not practice as a paralegal except under the supervision of a licensed attorney and is prohibited from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who do I have to be registered with to call myself a paralegal?
Montana Code 25-10-305 does not require paralegals to be registered. Your supervising attorney should verify that you meet the educational requirements set forth in Montana Code 25-10-305 before allowing you to perform paralegal work under their supervision.
Who is the Governing Body?
Montana Code 25-10-305 does not create a governing body for the paralegal profession.
What if I do not possess a paralegal certificate but I have worked for attorneys for over 10 years? Can I call myself a paralegal? Will I be grandfathered in?
Montana Code 25-10-305 does not specifically grandfather in paralegals. It does state that those with a high school diploma or equivalent plus 4,800 hours of substantive legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney documented by the certification of the attorney(s), and completion of at least 5 hours of approved continuing legal education in the area of legal ethics and responsibility will meet the educational requirements of Montana Code 25-10-305.
To whom should I certify that I have met initial educational requirements of Montana Code 25-10-305?
Montana Code 25-10-30 does not expressly require a paralegal to certify their education with anyone or a state entity. However, it does require paralegals to keep a record of their certifications. Practical application of the law dictates that a paralegal would have to certify their education with the supervising attorney since they are held liable by the paralegal’s actions. In addition, paralegals should be prepared to certify their qualifications to clients, in case the question ever arises.
What if I come from another state to work in Montana? Can I qualify under the code?
There would be no problem with a paralegal coming from another state to work in Montana as long as the educational requirements are met.
What if I work for a national law firm in another state other than Montana, can my firm send me to Montana to work on specific cases with them?
It would be acceptable if the paralegal is temporarily working on a case for its law firm which is located out of Montana. For example, if the firm is in both Montana and Wyoming, and the Montana firm has a need for additional help on a specified case, the firm may send a Wyoming paralegal to work on the case, as long as the paralegal is working for a Montana Attorney who is a member of the State Bar of Montana and that paralegal qualifies as a paralegal from the state in which they came. It would be acceptable for a law firm to send an “out of state” paralegal to work on specific cases.
Have the duties a paralegal performed prior to the enactment of the rule changed?
No. The duties a paralegals performs under the supervision of an attorney have not changed, nor has the level of supervision.
What are the duties a paralegal may perform?
A paralegal may still perform the tasks, including but not limited to, case planning, development and management, legal research; interviewing clients; fact gathering and retrieving information; drafting and analyzing legal documents; collecting, compiling, and utilizing technical information to make an independent decision and recommendation to the supervising attorney.
What are the prohibited activities of a paralegal?
A paralegal is governed by the same Code of Ethics and Canons of their supervising attorney. Montana Code 25-10-305 (3) also provides that a person may not practice as a paralegal except under the supervision of a licensed attorney and is prohibited from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Are the prohibitions any different that they were prior to the enactment of Montana Code 25-10-305?
No. These activities were prohibited prior to the enactment of Montana Code 25-10-305.
As an attorney, do I have to keep a record of my paralegals?
The law does not require you to, but given that the supervising attorney is liable for the actions of the paralegal, it is in your best interest to do so.