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Paralegals, Legal Ethics, UPL

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Leondra Hanson

on 5 April 2014

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Transcript of Paralegals, Legal Ethics, UPL

Paralegals, Legal Ethics, and the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Law as a Profession Part 2
What is a Paralegal?
What do Paralegals "DO"?
Becoming a "Paralegal"
“Virtually all difficult ethical problems arise from the conflict between a lawyer’s responsibilities to clients, the legal system and the lawyer’s own interest in remaining an ethical person while earning a satisfactory living”
Paralegals perform
substantive and procedural legal work
authorized by law
, which work, in the absence of the paralegal, would be performed by an attorney. Paralegals have knowledge of the law gained through education, or education and work experience, which qualifies them to perform legal work. Paralegals adhere to recognized ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility.
“A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is
employed or retained by a lawyer
, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated
substantive legal work
for which a
lawyer is responsible.
Sec. 1.35. Paralegal. "Paralegal" means a person who is qualified through education, training, or work experience
and is employed by a lawyer
, law office, governmental agency, or other entity to work
under the direction of an attorney
in a capacity that involves the performance of
substantive legal work
that usually requires a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts and
would be performed by the attorney
in the absence of the paralegal.
a person qualified through education, training, or work experience to perform
substantive legal work
that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is
customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer
. This person may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, government agency or other entity or
may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority
to perform this work. It is not the intent of MPA to exclude any member of the legal profession whose
job duties fit the definition of paralegal but whose job title is something other than "paralegal".
Additionally, the term "substantive" shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communications of relevant facts and legal concepts.
Field Investigation
Client Relations ...
License Requirement
(MN and most States)
Certificate / [from
More Credentials:
NALA = CLA Exam =
or Certified Paralegal

NFPA = PACE Exam =
or Registered Paralegal
or PCCE Exam = "
or CORE Registered Paralegal
It is not the intent of MPA to exclude any member of the legal profession whose
job duties fit the definition of paralegal but whose job title is something other than "paralegal".
Legal Discovery Technician
Law Librarian
Lease Specialist
Compliance Investigator
Case Management Specialist
Professional Education
Liberal Arts Tradition
Subdivision 1.Prohibitions. It shall be unlawful for any person or association of persons,
except members of the bar
of Minnesota admitted and licensed to practice as attorneys at law,
to appear
as attorney or counselor at law in any action or proceeding in any court in this state t
o maintain, conduct, or defend
the same, except personally as a party thereto in other than a representative capacity,
by word, sign, letter, or advertisement,
to hold out as competent or qualified to give legal advice
or counsel,
or to prepare legal documents,
or as being engaged in advising or counseling in law or acting as attorney or counselor at law, or in furnishing to others the services of a lawyer or lawyers, or,
for a fee or any consideration, to give legal advice
or counsel, perform for or furnish to another legal services, or,
for or without a fee or any consideration, to prepare
, directly or through another, for another person, firm, or corporation, any
or testamentary disposition or instrument of trust serving purposes similar to those of a will, or, for a fee or any consideration,
to prepare for
another person, firm, or corporation,
any other legal document
, except as provided in subdivision 3.
Subdivision 3 (1) - 3(16)


Subdivisions 4-8
Hypo 1
Hypo 2:
Janet is the president, and sole shareholder, of Baker’s Dozen, a Minnesota corporation. She was sued in conciliation court (aka small claims court) for $1500. Janet is not an attorney. Can Janet represent the company at the hearing?
Hypo 3 - Real Estate Broker
Preamble - Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct
- Termination
- Malpractice
- Membership
Lawyers MUST:
Paralegal Association Code
Duties ... Look at Rules

To Whom do Lawyers Owe Duties?
Where do Ethical Rules Come From?
204 Words.
OR = 23 times
Education Requirement
Ethical Rules and Hypotheticals
(a) Except when permitted under paragraph (b), a lawyer shall not
knowingly reveal
relating to the representation
of a client.
What are some of the exceptions?
Attorney-Client Privilege
Evidentiary Rule
Rule 5.3. Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants

With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:

(a) a partner and a lawyer, who individually or together with other lawyers possess comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make
reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance
that nonlawyer's conduct is compatible with the pro-fessional obligations of the lawyer;

(b) a lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts to
ensure that the person's conduct is compatible
with the professional obligations of the lawyer; and
Lawyer Ads ... Rule 7
Rule 7.1. Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services

A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
Hypo #4?
To whom do lawyers owe duties?
481.02 (b)

(15) the sole shareholder of a corporation from appearing on behalf of the corporation in court
But, see:
Subd. 3a.Real estate closing services.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a real estate broker ... from
drawing or assisting in drawing papers incident to the sale
, trade, lease, or loan of property, or from
charging for drawing or assisting in drawing
employed and supervised by a lawyer
authorized in some way by the law of a state
perform substantive legal work
- [The Spiderman Rule ... With Great Power ...]

[12] The legal profession’s relative
carries with it
special responsibilities
of self-government. The profession has a responsibility to assure that its regulations are conceived in the
public interest
and not in furtherance of parochial or self-interested concerns of the bar.
Preamble [7]

... a lawyer is also guided by personal conscience and the approbation of professional peers. A lawyer should strive ...
to exemplify the legal profession’s ideals
of public service.
Rule 8.4
(h) commit a discriminatory act prohibited by federal, state, or local statute or ordinance that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer. Whether a discriminatory act reflects adversely on a lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer shall be determined after consideration of all the circumstances, including:
Document Review -- Investigation?
Client Interviewing
Attorney Communication
"Master of the Facts"
Full transcript