The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
In an unusual trial setting, two paralegals faced each other in Minnesota’s 4th District Conciliation Court (also known as “Small Claims Court”): Linda Zinter, as the plaintiff, and Mary Ford, as the legal representative of the defendant, the University of Minnesota. No, this isn’t a misprint. Ford handled the hearing in one of the rare situations where a paralegal can appear in court on behalf of a client.
Ford, who has worked as a paralegal for the University since 2003, said she was prepared for the case.
“These cases happen fairly often,” Ford said. “I’ve definitely done this before.”
Paralegals, who aren’t licensed to practice law, are able to provide representation in conciliation court cases when a party — in this case the University — grants them power of attorney, University Deputy General Counsel Bill Donohue said.
Minnesota Daily, the campus newspaper has the details of the unusual case, in which Zinter sued the university for “$6,775 in tuition damages after she alleges she was coerced to take unnecessary classes in the spring semesters of 2003 and 2004.”
Stay tuned for the Court’s decision next week.
Related post at Paralegalese: Spotlight on Minnesota (What do you think about paralegals appearing in court in certain situations?)