A paralegal must work under the supervision of an attorney and cannot offer legal advice. In the state of CA, while paralegals do not have to be officially certified, they are required to complete 4 hours of mandatory continuing legal education in legal ethics and 4 hours of mandatory continuing legal education in either general law or in an area of specialized law every two years.
1. Attorneys are licensed to practice law, but paralegals are not allowed to practice law and only help lawyers with case preparation.
2. Attorneys earn Juris Doctor degree through law school but paralegals do not.
Attorneys offer legal advice and paralegal don't. Attorneys have a law degree and have passed the bar while paralegal usually require a BA in any subject and in California they are required to have a paralegal certificate OR a certain amount of years working under of a licensed lawyer. Paralegals often do the document prep for the cases that is reviewed by the lawyer such as complaints, motions and memorandums. Paralegal don't take depositions and don't represent the client in court. But they can review deposition transcripts and can interview clients. The paralegals also complete database information.