para·​le·​gal | \ ˌper-ə-ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce paralegal (audio) , ˌpa-rə- \

Definition of paralegal

: of, relating to, or being a paraprofessional who assists a lawyer

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Other Words from paralegal

paralegal \ ˈper-​ə-​ˌlē-​gəl How to pronounce paralegal (audio) , ˈpa-​rə-​ \ noun

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Much of the work in a law office can be done by paralegal assistants, also called legal aides or simply paralegals, who work alongside licensed lawyers. Often a paralegal is trained in a narrow field and then entrusted with it. In this respect, paralegals are similar to paraprofessionals in other fields, such as engineering. Paraprofessionals used to be trained in the office itself, but today it's common to study for a paraprofessional certificate or degree at a community college or university.

Examples of paralegal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every meal comes with a warm greeting from Prettyman, who spent 39 years as a paralegal specialist for the Social Security Administration before retiring in 2018. Glenn Graham,, "A West Baltimore woman has spent her life in service. Coronavirus wasn’t going to stop her from feeding her community.," 16 Aug. 2020 Laib graduated from Temple University in 1994 and had hoped to become a lawyer before a mid-career shift from paralegal work to health care. Jason Laughlin,, "Uber driver who killed herself battled depression, her insurance carrier," 8 May 2018 Two employees in the office have completed paralegal training, which will help with compiling investigations, Martin said. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "State takeover of JCPS: What the audit says and the district has done," 7 May 2018 The Mount Pleasant campus also will offer accounting, business, criminal justice, early childhood education, human resources specialist, human and social services and paralegal programs. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bryant & Stratton College plans to expand to Mount Pleasant with redeveloped building," 9 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paralegal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of paralegal

1966, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of paralegal was in 1966

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Last Updated

29 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paralegal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for paralegal


para·​le·​gal | \ ˌpar-ə-ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce paralegal (audio) \

Legal Definition of paralegal

: of, relating to, or being a paraprofessional who assists a lawyer — compare clerk sense 2b

Other Words from paralegal

paralegal noun

More from Merriam-Webster on paralegal

Nglish: Translation of paralegal for Spanish Speakers

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