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Rule 2.1. Advisor.

In representing aclient, a licensed paralegal practitioner shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice.In rendering advice, a licensed paralegal practitioner may refernot only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social andpolitical factors that may be relevant to the client's situation.

 

Comment

Scope of Advice

[1] A client is entitledto straightforward advice expressing the licensed paralegal practitioner?s honest assessment. Legal advice often involves unpleasant facts andalternatives that a client may be disinclined to confront. In presentingadvice, a licensed paralegal practitioner endeavors to sustain the client's morale and may put advice in asacceptable a form as honesty permits. However, a licensed paralegal practitioner should not be deterredfrom giving candid advice by the prospect that the advice will be unpalatableto the client.

[2] Advice couched innarrow legal terms may be of little value to a client, especially wherepractical considerations, such as cost or effects on other people, arepredominant. Purely technical legal advice, therefore, can sometimes beinadequate. It is proper for a licensed paralegalpractitioner to refer to relevant moral and ethical considerationsin giving advice. Although a licensed paralegalpractitioner is not a moral advisor as such, moral and ethicalconsiderations impinge upon most legal questions and may decisively influencehow the law will be applied.

[3] A client mayexpressly or impliedly ask the licensed paralegalpractitioner for purely technical advice. When such a request ismade by a client experienced in legal matters, the licensed paralegal practitioner may accept it at face value. When such a request is madeby a client inexperienced in legal matters, however, the licensed paralegal practitioner's responsibilityas advisor may include indicating that more may be involved than strictly legalconsiderations.

[4] Matters that gobeyond strictly legal questions withinthe scope of the licensed paralegal practitioner?s license may also be in thedomain of another profession. Family matters can involve problems within theprofessional competence of psychiatry, clinical psychology or social work;business matters can involve problems within the competence of the accountingprofession or of financial specialists; legal matters may be beyond theexpertise of the licensed paralegal practitioner. Where consultation with aprofessional in another field or with a lawyer is itself something a competentlicensed paralegal practitioner would recommend, the licensed paralegalpractitioner should make such a recommendation. At the same time, a licensedparalegal practitioner's advice at its best often consists ofrecommending a course of action in the face of conflicting recommendations ofexperts.

Offering Advice

[5] In general, a licensed paralegal practitioner is not expected to give advice untilasked by the client. However, when a licensed paralegal practitioner knows thata client proposes a course of action that is likely to result in substantialadverse legal consequences to the client, the licensed paralegal practitioner?sduty to the client under Rule 1.4 may require that the licensed paralegalpractitioner offer advice if the client's course of action is related to therepresentation. Similarly, when a matter is likely to involve litigation, itmay be necessary under Rules 1.1 and 1.4 to seek competent legal advice from alawyer. A licensed paralegal practitioner ordinarily has no duty to initiateinvestigation of a client's affairs or to give advice that the client hasindicated is unwanted, but a licensed paralegal practitioner may initiate advice to a client when doing so appears to be in the client'sinterest and when giving the advice is within the scope of the licensedparalegal practitioner?s license.

 

Effective November 1, 2018