Legal or Not?
In Texas, paralegals are fortunate to be very well supported by our State Bar and even have their own division – the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas. Paralegals in Texas have been recognized by the state bar as a separate field since 1981. The State Bar issued guidelines for paralegals in 2005, and includes recommendations for attorneys hiring paralegals with respect to education, experience, and certifications.
A paralegal is prohibited from engaging in the practice of law, providing legal advice, signing pleadings, negotiating settlement agreements, soliciting legal business on behalf of an attorney, setting a legal fee, accepting a case, or advertising or contracting with members of the general public for the performance of legal functions.
After doing research at the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division; there is nothing keeping a paralegal from working as an independent or freelance paralegal. The only requirement that is placed upon them is not to engage in Unauthorized Practice of Law. Paralegals can set hourly rates to charge for their clients and charge to perform the earlier mentioned jobs.
A freelance or contract paralegal can help by offering flexibility and experience! Specifically, they are available to help with preparation of pleadings and correspondence, transcription, file organization, litigation preparation, legal research, and even provide coverage for that person who is on vacation or maternity leave.