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Rule 5.1. Responsibilities of partners, managers, andsupervisory licensed paralegal practitioners.

 

(a) A partner in a firmof licensed paralegal practitioners, and a licensed paralegal practitioner whoindividually or together with other licensed paralegal practitioners possessescomparable managerial authority in a firm of licensed paralegal practitioners,shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measuresgiving reasonable assurance that all licensed paralegal practitioners in thefirm conform to these Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of ProfessionalConduct.

(b) A licensed paralegalpractitioner having direct supervisory authority over another licensedparalegal practitioner shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the otherlicensed paralegal practitioner conforms to the Licensed Paralegal PractitionerRules of Professional Conduct.

(c) A licensed paralegalpractitioner shall be responsible for another licensed paralegal practitioner?sviolation of the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conductif:

(c)(1) The licensedparalegal practitioner orders or, with knowledge of the specific conduct,ratifies the conduct involved; or

(c)(2) The licensedparalegal practitioner is a partner or has comparable managerial authority inthe firm of licensed paralegal practitioners in which the other licensedparalegal practitioner practices or has direct supervisory authority over theother licensed paralegal practitioner, and knows of the conduct at a time whenits consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonableremedial action.

 

Comment

[1] Paragraph (a)applies to licensed paralegal practitioners who have managerial authority overthe professional work of a firm of licensed paralegal practitioners. Thisincludes members of a partnership, the shareholders in a firm organized as aprofessional corporation and members of other associations authorized topractice law as licensed paralegal practitioners; and licensed paralegalpractitioners who have intermediate managerial responsibilities in a firm oflicensed paralegal practitioners. Paragraph (b) applies to licensed paralegalpractitioners who have supervisory authority over the work of other licensedparalegal practitioners in a firm.

[2] Paragraph (a)requires licensed paralegal practitioners with managerial authority within afirm of licensed paralegal practitioners to make reasonable efforts toestablish internal policies and procedures designed to provide reasonableassurance that all licensed paralegal practitioners in the firm will conform tothe Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct. Suchpolicies and procedures include those designed to detect and resolve conflictsof interest, identify dates by which actions must be taken in pending matters,account for client funds and property and ensure that inexperienced licensedparalegal practitioners are properly supervised. The responsibility for thefirm?s compliance with paragraph (a) resides with each partner, or otherlicensed paralegal practitioner in the firm with comparable authority.? Even though the concept of firm discipline ispossible, a firm should not be responsible in the absence of individualculpability for a rule violation.

[3] Other measures thatmay be required to fulfill the responsibility prescribed in paragraph (a) candepend on the firm's structure and the nature of its practice. In a small firmof experienced licensed paralegal practitioners, informal supervision andperiodic review of compliance with the required systems ordinarily willsuffice. In a large firm, or in practice situations in which difficult ethicalproblems frequently arise, more elaborate measures may be necessary. Somefirms, for example, may put in place a procedure whereby junior licensedparalegal practitioners can make confidential referral of ethical problemsdirectly to a designated partner or special committee. See Rule 5.2. Firms,whether large or small, may also rely on continuing education in professionalethics. In any event, the ethical atmosphere of a firm can influence theconduct of all its members and the partners may not assume that all licensedparalegal practitioners associated with the firm will inevitably conform to theRules.

[4] Paragraph (c)(1) expresses a general principle of personalresponsibility for acts of another. See also Rule 8.4(a).

[5] Paragraph (c)(2)defines the duty of a partner or other licensed paralegal practitioner havingcomparable managerial authority in a firm of licensed paralegal practitioners,as well as a licensed paralegal practitioner who has direct supervisoryauthority over performance of specific legal work by another licensed paralegalpractitioner. Whether a licensed paralegal practitioner has such supervisoryauthority in particular circumstances is a question of fact. Partners andlicensed paralegal practitioners with comparable authority have at leastindirect responsibility for all work being done by the firm, while a partner ormanager in charge of a particular matter ordinarily also has supervisoryresponsibility for the work of other firm licensed paralegal practitionersengaged in the matter. Appropriate remedial action by a partner or managinglicensed paralegal practitioner would depend on the immediacy of that licensedparalegal practitioner?s involvement and the seriousness of the misconduct. Asupervisor is required to intervene to prevent avoidable consequences ofmisconduct if the supervisor knows that the misconduct occurred. Thus, if asupervising licensed paralegal practitioner knows that a subordinatemisrepresented a matter to an opposing party in negotiation, the supervisor aswell as the subordinate has a duty to correct the resulting misapprehension.

[6] Professionalmisconduct by a licensed paralegal practitioner under supervision could reveala violation of paragraph (b) on the part of the supervisory licensed paralegalpractitioner even though it does not entail a violation of paragraph (c)because there was no direction, ratification or knowledge of the violation.

[7] Apart from this Ruleand Rule 8.4(a), a licensed paralegal practitioner does not have disciplinaryliability for the conduct of a partner, associate or subordinate. Whether alicensed paralegal practitioner may be liable civilly or criminally for anotherlicensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct is a question of law beyond the scopeof these Rules.

[8] The duties imposed by this rule onmanaging and supervising licensed paralegal practitioners do not alter thepersonal duty of each licensed paralegal practitioner in a firm to abide by theLicensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct. See Rule 5.2(a).

 

Effective November 1, 2018