IOP to produce transatlantic competency standards

IOP to produce transatlantic competency standards

The UK’s Institute of Paralegals (IOP) has announced that it is partnering with New York City Paralegal Association (NYCPA) to produce joint competency standards.

The standards, which will be available at no charge, will assist firms to standardise paralegal recruitment, appraisal, development and competency benchmarks and the project represents the first by paralegal representative bodies to create international standards.

The IOP and NYCPA have formed a joint working party to create competency standards for paralegals working in transatlantic law firms. The Standards will reflect the usual paralegal career structure, being set at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels.

Modelled upon the IOP’s existing UK competency standards, the draft transatlantic paralegal competency standards will be circulated for comment to all UK and US transatlantic firms.

James O’Connell, Chief Executive at the IOP said:

“Firms want to treat their fee-earners in a consistent manner across all their offices. They also want the same level of performance, competency and professionalism. Our standards will help firms to identify the core skills and knowledge that they should require of their paralegals at the various stages of their career.”

Nikki Doughty, International Liaison at the NYCPA said:

“This project is a timely response to the increasingly international nature of legal practice. We hope that firms looking to apply consistent standards to their paralegals will find the standards helpful. We’re aiming to get significant feedback from firms on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure that the standards are helpful and relevant.”

The IOP and the NYCPA are working to have a first draft available for circulation to interested parties before the end of January 2011.

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