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Preamble: A Licensed Paralegal Practitioner'sResponsibilities.

[1] A licensed paralegalpractitioner is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system anda public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.Every licensed paralegal practitioner is responsible to observe the law and theLicensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct, shall take theLicensed Paralegal Practitioner?s Oath upon licensure as a licensed paralegalpractitioner, and shall be subject to the Rules of Licensed ParalegalPractitioner Discipline and Disability.

Licensed ParalegalPractitioner?s Oath

"I do solemnlyswear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the UnitedStates and the Constitution the State of Utah; that I will discharge the dutiesof licensed paralegal practitioner as an officer of the courts of this Statewith honesty, fidelity, professionalism, and civility; and that I willfaithfully observe the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of ProfessionalConduct and the Standards of Professionalism and Civility promulgated by theSupreme Court of the State of Utah."

[2] As a representativeof clients, a licensed paralegal practitioner performs various functions. Asadvisor, a licensed paralegal practitioner provides a client with an informedunderstanding of the client's legal rights and obligations and explains theirpractical implications. As advocate, a licensed paralegal practitionerzealously asserts the client's position under the rules of the adversarysystem. As negotiator, a licensed paralegal practitioner seeks a resultadvantageous to the client but consistent with requirements of honest dealingswith others. A licensed paralegal practitioner's representation of a clientdoes not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, socialor moral views or activities.

[3] In addition to theserepresentational functions, a licensed paralegal practitioner may serve as athird-party neutral, a nonrepresentational role helping the parties to resolvea dispute or other matter. Some of these Rules apply directly to licensedparalegal practitioners who are or have served as third-party neutrals. See,e.g., Rules 1.12 and 2.4. In addition, there are rules that apply to licensedparalegal practitioners who are not active in the practice of law or topracticing licensed paralegal practitioners even when they are acting in anonprofessional capacity. For example, a licensed paralegal practitioner whocommits fraud in the conduct of a business is subject to discipline forengaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.See Rule 8.4.

[4] In all professionalfunctions a licensed paralegal practitioner should be competent, prompt anddiligent. A licensed paralegal practitioner should maintain communication witha client concerning the representation. A licensed paralegal practitionershould keep in confidence information relating to representation of a clientexcept so far as disclosure is required or permitted by the Licensed ParalegalPractitioner Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.

[5] A licensed paralegalpractitioner's conduct should conform to the requirements of the law, both inprofessional service to clients and in the licensed paralegal practitioner'sbusiness and personal affairs. A licensed paralegal practitioner should use thelaw's procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidateothers. A licensed paralegal practitioner should demonstrate respect for thelegal system and for those who serve it, including judges, attorneys, otherlicensed paralegal practitioners and public officials. While it is a licensedparalegal practitioner's duty, when necessary, to challenge the rectitude ofofficial action, it is also a licensed paralegal practitioner's duty to upholdlegal process.

[6] As a public citizen,a licensed paralegal practitioner should seek improvement of the law, access tothe legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of servicerendered by the legal profession. In addition, a licensed paralegalpractitioner should further the public's understanding of and confidence in therule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in aconstitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintaintheir authority. A licensed paralegal practitioner should be mindful ofdeficiencies in the administration of justice and of the fact that the poor,and sometimes persons who are not poor, cannot afford adequate legal assistanceand, therefore, all licensed paralegal practitioners should devote professionaltime and resources and use civic influence in their behalf to ensure equalaccess to our system of justice for all those who because of economic or socialbarriers cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel. A licensed paralegalpractitioner should aid the legal profession in pursuing these objectives andshould help the Bar regulate itself in the public interest.

[7] Many of a licensedparalegal practitioner's professional responsibilities are prescribed in theLicensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct, as well assubstantive and procedural law. However, a licensed paralegal practitioner isalso guided by personal conscience and the approbation of professional peers. Alicensed paralegal practitioner should strive to attain the highest level ofskill, to improve the law and the legal profession and to exemplify the legalprofession's ideals of public service.

[8] A licensed paralegalpractitioner's responsibilities as a representative of clients, an officer ofthe legal system and a public citizen are usually harmonious. Thus, a licensedparalegal practitioner can be sure that preserving client confidencesordinarily serves the public interest because people are more likely to seeklegal advice, and thereby heed their legal obligations, when they know theircommunications will be private.

[9] In the nature of lawpractice, however, conflicting responsibilities are encountered. Virtually alldifficult ethical problems arise from conflict between a licensed paralegalpractitioner's responsibilities to clients, to the legal system and to thelicensed paralegal practitioner's own interest in remaining an ethical personwhile earning a satisfactory living. The Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rulesof Professional Conduct often prescribe terms for resolving such conflicts.Within the framework of these Rules, however, many difficult issues ofprofessional discretion can arise. Such issues must be resolved through theexercise of sensitive professional and moral judgment guided by the basicprinciples underlying the Rules. These principles include the licensedparalegal practitioner's obligation zealously to protect and pursue a client'slegitimate interests, within the bounds of the adversarial system, whilemaintaining a professional, courteous and civil attitude toward all personsinvolved in the legal system.

[10] The legalprofession is largely self-governing. Although other professions also have beengranted powers of self-government, the legal profession is unique in thisrespect because of the close relationship between the profession and theprocesses of government and law enforcement. This connection is manifested inthe fact that ultimate authority over the legal profession is vested largely inthe courts.

[11] To the extent thatlicensed paralegal practitioners meet the obligations of their professionalcalling, the occasion for government regulation is obviated. Self-regulationalso helps maintain the legal profession's independence from governmentdomination. An independent legal profession is an important force in preservinggovernment under law, for abuse of legal authority is more readily challengedby a profession whose members are not dependent on government for the right topractice.

[12] The legalprofession's relative autonomy carries with it special responsibilities ofself-government. The profession has a responsibility to ensure that itsregulations are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance ofparochial or self-interested concerns of the Bar. Every licensed paralegalpractitioner is responsible for observance of the Licensed ParalegalPractitioner Rules of Professional Conduct. A licensed paralegal practitionershould also aid in securing their observance by other licensed paralegalpractitioners and lawyers. Neglect of these responsibilities compromises theindependence of the profession and the public interest which it serves.

[13] Licensed paralegalpractitioners play a vital role in the preservation of society. The fulfillmentof this role requires an understanding by licensed paralegal practitioners oftheir relationship to our legal system. The Licensed Paralegal PractitionerRules of Professional Conduct, when properly applied, serve to define thatrelationship.


[14] The LicensedParalegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct are rules of reason. Theyshould be interpreted with reference to the purposes of legal representationand of the law itself. Some of the Rules are imperatives,cast in the terms "shall" or "shall not." These defineproper conduct for purposes of professional discipline. Others, generally castin the term "may," are permissive and define areas under the Rules inwhich the licensed paralegal practitioner has discretion to exerciseprofessional judgment. No disciplinary action should be taken when the licensedparalegal practitioner chooses not to act or acts within the bounds of suchdiscretion. Other Rules define the nature of relationships between the licensedparalegal practitioner and others. The Rules are thus partly obligatory anddisciplinary and partly constitutive and descriptive in that they define alicensed paralegal practitioner's professional role. Many of the Comments usethe term "should." Comments do not add obligations to the Rules butprovide guidance for practicing in compliance with the Rules.

[15] The Rulespresuppose a larger legal context shaping the licensed paralegal practitioner'srole. That context includes court rules and statutes relating to matters oflicensure, laws defining specific obligations of licensed paralegalpractitioners and substantive and procedural law in general. The Comments aresometimes used to alert licensed paralegal practitioners to theirresponsibilities under such other law.

[16] Compliance with theRules, as with all law in an open society, depends primarily upon understandingand voluntary compliance, secondarily upon reinforcement by peer and publicopinion and finally, when necessary, upon enforcement through disciplinaryproceedings. The Rules do not, however, exhaust the moral and ethicalconsiderations that should inform a licensed paralegal practitioner, for noworthwhile human activity can be completely defined by legal rules. The Rulessimply provide a framework for the ethical practice of law.

[17] Furthermore, forpurposes of determining the licensed paralegal practitioner's authority andresponsibility, principles of substantive law external to these Rules determinewhether a licensed paralegal practitioner-client relationship exists. Most ofthe duties flowing from the licensed paralegal practitioner-client relationshipattach only after the client has requested the licensed paralegal practitionerto render legal services and the licensed paralegal practitioner has agreed todo so. But there are some duties, such as that of confidentiality under Rule1.6, that attach when the licensed paralegal practitioner agrees to considerwhether a licensed paralegal practitioner-client relationship shall be established.See Rule 1.18. Whether a licensed paralegal practitioner-client relationshipexists for any specific purpose can depend on the circumstances and may be aquestion of fact.

[18] Reserved.

[19] Failure to complywith an obligation or prohibition imposed by a Rule is a basis for invoking thedisciplinary process. The Rules presuppose that disciplinary assessment of alicensed paralegal practitioner's conduct will be made on the basis of thefacts and circumstances as they existed at the time of the conduct in questionand in recognition of the fact that a licensed paralegal practitioner often hasto act upon uncertain or incomplete evidence of the situation. Moreover, theRules presuppose that whether or not discipline should be imposed for aviolation, and the severity of a sanction, depend on all the circumstances,such as the willfulness and seriousness of the violation, extenuating factorsand whether there have been previous violations.

[20] Violation of a ruleshould not itself give rise to a cause of action against a licensed paralegalpractitioner nor should it create any presumption in such a case that a legalduty has been breached. In addition, violation of a rule does not necessarilywarrant any other nondisciplinary remedy. The Rulesare designed to provide guidance to licensed paralegal practitioners and toprovide a structure for regulating conduct through disciplinary agencies. Theyare not designed to be a basis for civil liability. Furthermore, the purpose ofthe Rules can be subverted when they are invoked by opposing parties asprocedural weapons. The fact that a rule is a just basis for a licensedparalegal practitioner's self-assessment, or for sanctioning a licensedparalegal practitioner under the administration of a disciplinary authority,does not imply that an antagonist in a collateral proceeding or transaction hasstanding to seek enforcement of the rule. Nevertheless, since the Rules doestablish standards of conduct by licensed paralegal practitioners, a licensedparalegal practitioner?s violation of a rule may be evidence of breach of anapplicable standard of conduct.

[21] The commentaccompanying each rule explains and illustrates the meaning and purpose of therule. The Preamble and this note on Scope provide general orientation. Thecomments are intended as guides to interpretation, but the text of each rule isauthoritative.

Effective November 1, 2018