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Rule 4.3. Dealing withunrepresented person.

(a) In dealing on behalf ofa client with a person who is not represented by a lawyer or licensed paralegalpractitioner, a licensed paralegal practitioner shall not state or implythat the licensed paralegal practitioner is disinterested. When the licensedparalegal practitioner knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresentedperson misunderstands the licensed paralegal practitioner?s role in the matter,the licensed paralegal practitioner shall make reasonable efforts to correctthe misunderstanding. The licensed paralegal practitioner shall not give legaladvice to an unrepresented person, other than the advice to secure counsel, ifthe licensed paralegal practitioner knows or reasonably should know that theinterests of such a person are or have a reasonable possibility of being inconflict with the interests of the client.

(b) A licensed paralegal practitioner may consider aperson, whose representation by counsel in a matter does not encompass all aspectsof the matter, to be unrepresented for purposes of this Rule and Rule 4.2,unless that person?s counsel has provided written notice to the licensedparalegal practitioner of those aspects of the matter or the time limitationfor which the person is represented. Only as to such aspects and time is theperson considered to be represented by counsel.

 

Comment

[1] An unrepresented person, particularly one notexperienced in dealing with legal matters, might assume that a licensedparalegal practitioner is disinterested in loyalties or is a disinterestedauthority on the law even when the licensed paralegal practitioner represents aclient. In order to avoid a misunderstanding, a licensed paralegal practitionerwill typically need to identify his or her client and, where necessary, explainthat the client has interests opposed to those of the unrepresented person.

[2] This rule distinguishes between situationsinvolving unrepresented persons whose interests may be adverse to those of thelicensed paralegal practitioner?s client and those in which the person'sinterests are not in conflict with the client's. In the former situation, thepossibility that the licensed paralegal practitioner will compromise theunrepresented person's interests is so great that this rule prohibits thegiving of any advice, apart from the advice to obtain counsel. Whether alicensed paralegal practitioner is giving impermissible advice may depend onthe experience and sophistication of the unrepresented person, as well as thesetting in which the behavior and comments occur.

[3] Paragraph (b) recognizesthat the scope of representation of a person by counsel may, under Rule 1.2, belimited by mutual agreement. Because a lawyer or licensed paralegalpractitioner for another party cannot know which of Rule 4.2 or 4.3 appliesunder these circumstances, a licensed paralegal practitionerwho undertakes a limited representation must assume the responsibility forinforming another party's lawyer or licensed paralegal practitioner of the limitations.This ensures that such a limited representation will not improperly or unfairlyinduce an adversary's lawyer or licensed paralegal practitioner to avoidcontacting the person on those aspects of a matter for which the person is notrepresented by counsel. Note that this responsibility on the licensed paralegalpractitioner undertaking limited-scope representationalso relates to the ability of another party's lawyer or licensed paralegalpractitioner to make certain ex parte contactswithout violating Rule 4.2.

 

Effective November 1, 2018