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Bill seeks to address shortage of government lawyers on Guam

Updated: May 22


By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Sens. Telo Taitague and Chris Barnett introduced a bill that would allow Guam’s Supreme Court to establish rules to govern the qualifications and licensing of paralegals and advanced paralegals.

Bill 307-37, which would authorize the Supreme Court to determine the scope and limitations of practice for advanced practice paralegals, is designed to alleviate the shortage of government lawyers.

"In a recent public hearing, both the attorney general and the executive director of the Guam Public Defender Service Corp. provided testimony that Guam continues to have a shortage of attorneys on island, Taitague said.

"This can delay everything from procurement to prosecuting criminals as well as civil lawsuits. This bill is one way that we can mitigate the impact of that shortage while keeping our cost at a minimum," she added,

Paralegals assist attorneys in research and documentation related to their cases. Advanced paralegals have additional training and education which enhances their capabilities in the legal profession.

Many become certified in specialty areas of law. Their additional legal knowledge and skills are valuable to attorneys, especially in uncontested legal proceedings.

Advanced paralegals, as authorized by the Supreme Court of Guam, will be permitted to provide services to attorneys beyond what paralegals generally perform.


Attorneys generally rely on paralegals to assist them in handling their caseloads effectively and efficiently. Jurisdictions nationwide, Guam included, have a shortage of licensed attorneys, due to the lack of licensed attorneys on the island.

Many jurisdictions are moving to allow the licensing of advanced paralegals as a way to alleviate the impact of attorney shortages. The licensing of advanced paralegals will allow attorneys to better provide services to their clients and minimize delays in court proceedings.

"This is a great way to solve some of the challenges we’re facing because of the shortage of attorneys on our island," Barnett said.

"There are a lot of sharp, hardworking, and professional paralegals out there who are ready, willing and able to help. This is a good bill that will allow them to do just that,m" he added.

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