Peter Paralegal/Legal Assistant: A Case Study

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The American Bar Association (ABA) defines Paralegal/Legal Assistant as a person qualified by education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work specifically delegated to them by their supervising attorney. Paralegals are employed or retained by attorneys, law firms, government agencies, and corporations who implements particularly assigned substantive legal work for which an attorney is accountable (ABA, 2016). According to the ABA Model Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegal Services, the lawyer is accountable for the paralegal’s professional conduct while performing services at the lawyer’s direction. Lawyers may delegate any tasks normally performed by lawyers to paralegals, except for those tasks inadmissible…show more content…
Peter Paralegal may also draft pleadings and responses for both clients and interview witnesses on their behalf (ABA, 2016). The supervising attorney of Honest Law Firm assigned specific legal tasks regarding clients Big Box Discount Shoppe (Big Box) and Value Mart to Peter Paralegal (Orlik, 2013). While it is appropriate to delegate tasks to Peter Paralegal, it is critical that the tasks being delegated are permissible under the relevant laws, rules, and guidelines regarding the utilization of paralegal services (Paralegal Ethics, 2013). Peter Paralegal cannot ethically perform some of the tasks delegated to him by his supervising attorney. The ABA Model Guideline 3 states that a lawyer may not delegate to a paralegal, any responsibility regarding the establishing of an attorney-client relationship or the amount of fee to be charged for a legal service. Peter Paralegal cannot perform tasks such as establishing attorney-client relationship or discuss fee agreement documents for Big Box and Value Mart (ABA Model Guidelines, 2012). It is a violation of Rule 1.5: Fees, Rule 5.4: Professional Independence of a Lawyer and Rule 5.3: Responsibilities Regarding Non-Lawyer…show more content…
Such tasks include establishing attorney-client relationship, discussing/setting fees, and signing initial case evaluation letters. Rule 5.3(b) states that a supervising attorney having direct supervision over a paralegal must make judicious efforts to assure that the paralegal’s conduct is in compliance and compatible with the professional responsibilities of the lawyer (ABA, 2016). Paragraph (c) of Rule 5.3 clarifies that the lawyer is accountable for the conduct of a paralegal who violates the Rules of Professional Conduct. Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct by Peter Paralegal and his supervising attorney is considered misconduct and a violation of Rule 8.4 which prohibits lawyers from knowingly aiding or making another to violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional

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