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Board of Governors approves paralegal certification program

After about two decades of failed attempts to set up a paralegal-certification program, Wisconsin will finally have one.

The Wisconsin State Bar Board of Governors gave the green light for the voluntary program at Friday’s meeting, approving it unanimously.

Because Wisconsin sets no minimum standards or requirements that paralegals must meet, anyone can present themselves as one.

The policy the board approved Friday calls on paralegals to meet several qualifications. They should, for instance, obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited school or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in another field and at least 18 credits from a paralegal-studies program.

The program also gives paralegals with no relevant college courses a two-year window during which they can still get an official certification if they meet certain requirements.

The board’s approval comes at least 20 years after various participants in the state’s legal system first expressed an interest in establishing procedures that would provide paralegals with a means of obtaining official state certifications.

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