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Rule 15-301.Standards of licensed paralegal practitioner professionalism and civility.

 

Preamble

A licensed paralegal practitioner's conduct should becharacterized at all times by personal courtesy and professional integrity inthe fullest sense of those terms. In fulfilling a duty to represent a client,we must be mindful of our obligations to the administration of justice, whichis a truth-seeking process designed to resolve human and societal problems in arational, peaceful, and efficient manner. We must remain committed to the ruleof law as the foundation for a just and peaceful society.

Conduct that may be characterized as uncivil, abrasive,abusive, hostile, or obstructive impedes the fundamental goal of resolvingdisputes rationally, peacefully, and efficiently. Such conduct tends to delayand often to deny justice.

Licensed paralegal practitioners should exhibitcourtesy, candor and cooperation in dealing with the public and participatingin the legal system. The following standards are designed to encourage licensedparalegal practitioners to meet their obligations to each other, to litigantsand to the system of justice, and thereby achieve the twin goals of civilityand professionalism, both of which are hallmarks of a learned profession dedicatedto public service.

Licensed paralegal practitioners should educatethemselves on the potential impact of using digital communications and socialmedia, including the possibility that communications intended to be private maybe republished or misused. Licensed paralegal practitioners should understandthat digital communications in some circumstances may have a widespread andlasting impact on their clients, themselves, lawyers, other licensed paralegalpractitioners, and the judicial system.

Licensed paralegal practitioners are expected to makemutual and firm commitments to these standards. Adherence is expected as partof a commitment by all participants to improve the administration of justicethroughout this State. We further expect licensed paralegal practitioners toeducate their clients regarding these standards.

These standards should be followed by licensedparalegal practitioners in all interactions with each other, lawyers, andjudges, and in any proceedings in this State. Copies may be made available toclients to reinforce our obligation to maintain and foster these standards.Nothing in these standards supersedes or detracts from existing disciplinarycodes or standards of conduct.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. Preamble [1], [13];R. Civ. P. 1.

 

1. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall advance thelegitimate interests of their clients, without reflecting any ill-will thatclients may have for their adversaries, even if called upon to do so byanother. Instead, licensed paralegal practitioners shall treat all otherlicensed paralegal practitioners, lawyers, parties, judges, and otherparticipants in all proceedings in a courteous and dignified manner.

Comment: Licensed paralegal practitioners shouldmaintain the dignity and decorum of judicial and administrative proceedings, aswell as the esteem of the legal profession.

Licensed paralegal practitioners are expected torefrain from inappropriate language, maliciousness, or insulting behavior inmeetings with opposing licensed paralegal practitioners, lawyers, and clients,telephone calls, email, and other exchanges. They should use their best effortsto instruct their clients to do the same.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 1.4,1.16(a)(1), 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3(a)(1), 3.4, 3.5(d), 3.8, 3.9, 4.1(a), 4.4(a),8.4(d); R. Civ. P. 10(h), 12(f).

 

2. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall advise theirclients that civility, courtesy, and fair dealing are expected. They are toolsfor effective advocacy and not signs of weakness. Clients have no right todemand that licensed paralegal practitioners abuse anyone or engage in anyoffensive or improper conduct.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. Preamble [5],1.2(a), 1.2(d), 1.4(a)(5).

 

3. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall not, withoutan adequate factual basis, attribute to other licensed paralegal practitioners,lawyers, or the court improper motives, purpose, or conduct. Licensed paralegalpractitioners should avoid hostile, demeaning, or humiliating words in writtenand oral communications with adversaries. Written submissions should notdisparage the integrity, intelligence, morals, ethics, or personal behavior ofan adversary unless such matters are directly relevant under controllingsubstantive law.

Comment: Hostile, demeaning, and humiliatingcommunications include all expressions of discrimination on the basis of race,religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, handicap, veteran status, ornational origin, or casting aspersions on physical traits or appearance.Licensed paralegal practitioners should refrain from acting upon or manifestingbigotry, discrimination, or prejudice toward any participant in the legalprocess, even if a client requests it.

Licensed paralegal practitioners should refrain fromexpressing scorn, superiority, or disrespect. Legal process should not beissued merely to annoy, humiliate, intimidate, or harass.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. Preamble [5],3.1, 3.5, 8.4; R. Civ. P. 10(h).

 

4. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall never knowinglyattribute to other licensed paralegal practitioners, or to lawyers, a positionor claim that the other professional has not taken or seek to create such anunjustified inference or otherwise seek to create a ?record? that has notoccurred.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 3.1, 3.3(a)(1),3.5(a), 8.4(c), (d).

 

5. Reserved.

 

6. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall adhere totheir express promises and agreements, oral or written, and to all commitmentsreasonably implied by the circumstances or by local custom.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 1.1, 1.3,1.4(a), (b), 1.6(a), 1.9, 1.13(a), (b), 1.14, 1.15, 1.16(d), 1.18(b), (c), 2.1,3.2, 3.3, 3.4(c), 3.8, 5.1, 5.3, 8.3(a), (b), 8.4(c), (d).

 

7. When committing oral understandings to writing,licensed paralegal practitioners shall do so accurately and completely. Theyshall provide other licensed paralegal practitioners or lawyers a copy forreview, and never include substantive matters upon which there has been noagreement, without explicitly advising the other licensed paralegalpractitioner or lawyer. As drafts are exchanged, licensed paralegalpractitioners shall bring to the attention of other licensed paralegalpractitioners or lawyers changes from prior drafts.

Comment: When providing the opposing party with a copyof any negotiated document for review, a licensed paralegal practitioner shouldnot make changes to the written document in a manner calculated to cause theopposing party or that party?s representative to overlook or fail to appreciatethe changes. Changes should be clearly and accurately identified in the draftor otherwise explicitly brought to the attention of the opposing party.Licensed paralegal practitioners should be sensitive to, and accommodating of,other professionals? inability to make full use of technology and shouldprovide hard copy drafts when requested and a redline copy, if available.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 3.4(a), 4.1(a),8.4(c), (d).

 

8. Reserved.

 

9. Reserved.

 

10. Reserved.

 

11. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall avoidimpermissible ex parte communications.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 1.2, 2.2, 2.9,3.5, 5.1, 5.3, 8.4(a), (d).

 

12.? Reserved.

 

13. Reserved.

 

14. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall advise theirclients that they reserve the right to determine whether to grantaccommodations to other licensed paralegal practitioners or lawyers in allmatters not directly affecting the merits of the cause or prejudicing theclient?s rights, such as extensions of time. Licensed paralegal practitionersshall agree to reasonable requests for extension of time when doing so will notadversely affect their clients? legitimate rights.

Licensed paralegal practitioners shall never request anextension of time solely for the purpose of delay or to obtain a tacticaladvantage.

Comment: Licensed paralegal practitioners should notevade communication with other professionals, should promptly acknowledgereceipt of any communication, and should respond as soon as reasonably possible.Licensed paralegal practitioners should only use data-transmission technologiesas an efficient means of communication and not to obtain an unfair tacticaladvantage. Licensed paralegal practitioners should be willing to grantaccommodations where the use of technology is concerned, including honoringreasonable requests to retransmit materials or to provide hard copies.

Licensed paralegal practitioners should not requestinappropriate extensions of time or serve papers at times or places calculatedto embarrass or take advantage of an adversary.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 1.2(a), 2.1,3.2, 8.4.

 

15. Reserved.

 

16. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall not causethe entry of a default without first notifying the other party?s lawyer or licensedparalegal practitioner whose identity is known, unless their clients?legitimate rights could be adversely affected.

Cross-References: L.P.P. R. Prof. Cond. 8.4; R. Civ. P.55(a).

 

17. Reserved.

 

18. Reserved.

 

19. Reserved.

 

20. Licensed paralegal practitioners shall notauthorize or encourage their clients or anyone under their direction orsupervision to engage in conduct proscribed by these Standards.

 

Effective November 1, 2018