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Ethical Responsibilities of Paralegals

Discussion Question 1: Ethical Responsibilities of Paralegals
One of the most important things to remember in a law office setting is that everyone, including the paralegal, must adhere to the state rules of professional conduct.

Look at NALA’s and NFPA’s codes of ethics and answer the following questions:

Do you think that they are adequate descriptions of the ethical responsibilities of paralegals? Is anything missing that you would like to add?

Name three rules that both ethical codes address.

What is the difference in the way the codes are set up?

Justify your answers with examples and reasoning.

The NFPA code of ethics is available at: N.F.P.A. Model Code Of Ethics And Professional Responsibility

The NALA code of ethics is available at: NALA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Discussion Question 2: Janet’s Dilemma
There is often a fine line between what an attorney and a paralegal can do in a legal practice. Janet works as a paralegal for a sole practitioner specializing in real estate. At 3:00 p.m., a legal secretary brings Janet the fax of a real-estate contract that she has received from a client, Ms. Smith, and transfers Smith’s call to Janet. Smith tells Janet that the attorney has promised to review the contract prior to closing the office, which is at 4:00 p.m. However, the attorney did not perform the review and had gone home for the day. Smith knows that Janet worked in real estate before working as a paralegal and is familiar with real estate closings.

Based on the above information, answer the following questions:

What is the ethical dilemma posed by Janet’s situation?

Do you think that Janet reviewing the document will constitute UPL (Unauthorized Practice of Law)? Analyze the situation.