RESOURCES: How paralegals work, and how to support them

The author Toni Morrison wrote, “if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

That’s what community paralegals do every day. They walk with people towards justice. We are excited to share two resources describing how paralegals work, and how best to support them.

Guide to Organizing and Working with Community-Based Paralegals

This guide shows how paralegals equip people to know law, use law, and shape law. It closes with a chapter on how organizations can best support the work of paralegals, including recruitment, payment, and training.

Illustrated with cartoons drawn by a paralegal who’s also an artist, the guide is full of hard-earned, concrete wisdom on questions like: how to facilitate a legal literacy session, how to write an effective complaint letter to an administrative agency, and how to combine multiple cases facing a common blockage into a “mass case.”

Insights and examples in the guide are drawn from ongoing legal empowerment efforts in Myanmar, though these lessons can be applied anywhere. The guide was produced by Namati Myanmar and MyJustice.

How to Develop a Community Paralegal Program – An Interactive Guide

This first-of-its-kind online guide offers a curated set of resources for anyone who wants to design or improve community-based paralegal programs. The guide brings together over 100 text and multimedia resources gathered from across the Global Legal Empowerment Network.

Drawing from grassroots experience and research, these resources offer guidance on vital, practical questions, including: why knowledge of local context is crucial to start a community-based paralegal program; how to use legal empowerment across issues such as land, gender, criminal justice, and public health; and how to fundraise to sustain these efforts.

If you put into practice something you learn from one of these resources, or if you have an idea for how to improve them, we’d love to hear from you. Please provide your thoughts in the comments below.

Learning from each other is part of how we build our movement, part of how we walk together towards justice.


This is another step for Paralegals empowerment in our community, let us use this guide for better success


Wow! Looks like an amazing resource! Can’t wait to read it. Great job guys!


This looks fantastic. Will share with relevant networks.


That’s so useful to learn and to adapt to the one established in my country. Cambodia is drafting law on legal aid in which the paralegal will be there. Thanks


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We are waiting for more update about your legal aid law. I hope it will establish strong institutions and make Paralegal work more visible.

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First am happy to be part of this family it has been long since i interacted with NAMATI but thank am here now My question is do NAMATI have a programme to train paralegal here in Kenya and so how can I get in tough with you?

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This is an amazing guide to me! In matter of facts, I downloaded it and wrote down some quickly needed points of which I believe it will help us as a team if we implement. Others we have already implemented since it aided our folk in planning for some of our community forums. A simple sketch of our work is here:


@vivekmaru said that if you have any idea to improve them, you can reply your ideas in the comment section (Though I only downloaded Guide to Organizing and Working with Community-Based Paralegals ) and İ can only share my ideas towards it.

I think this resource/guide has boldly touched and stressed every significant point of view. It is rich and well arranged to be added something.

Only that, it has been said, " Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes" by Napoleon Hill I feel I can generate some of them.

Well, the Guide talks about paralegals and the stresses they undergo in their work, what if we add some relaxation techniques that can help them evoke the relaxation response and reduce stress?

Examples: Re-balanace work and home, connect with supportive people, carve out hobby time,practice meditation and the list is long… Or maybe we can add/introduce these techniques in the discourse as a category. Moreover, today’s world is full of creativity and new things, one of them been doing exercises to curb stress or improve the state of your health, Meditations for example being a category/class might help members to feel they are part of the modern world :sweat_smile: otherwise,

Thank you all for your insights and sorry for waking you up since the post is over one year old.