What is the difference between a paralegal and a legal assistant?

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Both terms are used interchangeably. The American Bar Association (ABA) does not distinguish between the paralegal vs. legal assistant positions. The ABA defines both positions as follows: "A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible."

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A paralegal is someone who performs delegated legal work for which a lawyer is ultimately responsible.