Paralegal Ethics

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Cengage Learning, 2000 - Law - 282 pages
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This easy-to-follow book offers a study of legal ethics and ethical dilemmas from the perspective of the paralegal. The book includes the ABA Model Rule that applies to attorneys so as to inform the paralegal how to act in accordance with these rules and better assist attorneys. The NALA and NFPA rules and guidelines focus on practical advice and information paralegals can use to comply with the pertinent rules of ethics. A discussion of business ethics prepares readers for the ethical situations they might encounter in working for a law firm, a major corporation, a government agency or other type of businesses.
 

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The ethics of a subordinate legal assistant is not merely a blind trust in which an attorney may rely upon the respondant superior as the shield to protect certain canonical ethics of the State Bar. It is just as likely, in the case of Merrell Williams' use of documents, that Williams had a right to protect himself from an on-going crime. The on-going crime of fraud, which turns out to be the case, is not simply a rabbit in a hat trick. It's a thoughtful process where Williams is no different from Daniel Elsberg who took the Pentagon Papers. Williams, who was acting in the role of a legal assistant, supervised by attorneys, had no legal obligation to deny the public the truth to what had been concealed for 50 years and was, in fact, violative of fraud, deceit, and on-going crimes. Certainly, any legal assistant who finds that his/her boss is co-mingling client funds and using client's trust funds for personal pleasure, has a duty to turn that attorney over to the Bar. It's well know that Defendant lawyers are not any less devious at manipulating the rules, and this is certainly the case where Richard Scruggs and Paul Minor, attorneys, now are serving Federal prison time for crimes of bribery. Is it, in fact, true that Williams had a duty NOT to release the truth to Congress? If so, the same applies to Daniel Elsberg. Why make the distinction? Elsberg certain does not. 

Contents

The Importance of Legal Ethics
1
An Ethical Dilemma
8
Consequences of Unethical Attorney Behavior
14
Resources for Legal Ethics Research
20
Chapter Summary
26
UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW
32
Professions at Risk of Engaging in the Unauthorized
38
Guidance from the Paralegal Associations
44
A Question of Ethics
119
Legal Fees and Billing
134
Fee Splitting with Attorneys
148
Reporting Misconduct
161
ADVERTISING AND SOLICITATION
175
False and Misleading Advertising
180
FROM THE PARALEGALS PERSPECTIVE
187
Summary Questions
193

Case and Discussion
52
CONFIDENTIALITY
59
AttorneyClient Privilege
67
A Question of Ethics
76
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
82
Imputed Disqualification
88
The Attorney as a Witness
95
Chapter Summary
101
An Ethical Dilemma
107
Maintaining Competence
114
Ethics Programs
199
Resolving Ethical Dilemmas
205
Introduction
211
Chapter Summary
217
Appendix B New Hampshires Guidelines for the Utilization
242
Appendix E Directory of Paralegal Associations
257
Glossary
271
Index
277
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Angela Schneeman is a writer, research specialist, and freelance paralegal. She has worked for law firms, corporate legal departments, and a major accounting firm. The author of five paralegal textbooks, Ms. Schneeman received her Legal Assistant Certificate and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Legal Studies from the University of Minnesota.

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