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Rule 5.3. Responsibilities regarding non-lawyer andnon-licensed paralegal practitioner assistants.

 

With respect to a non-lawyer ornon-licensed paralegal practitioner employed or retained by or associated witha licensed paralegal practitioner:

(a) a partner, and a licensed paralegalpractitioner who individually or together with other licensed paralegalpractitioners possesses comparable managerial authority in a firm of licensedparalegal practitioners, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firmhas in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the person's conduct iscompatible with the professional obligations of the licensed paralegalpractitioner;

(b) alicensed paralegal practitioner having direct supervisory authority overthe non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegal practitioner shall makereasonable efforts to ensure that the person's conduct is compatible with theprofessional obligations of the licensed paralegal practitioner; and

(c) alicensed paralegal practitioner shall be responsible for conduct of such aperson that would be a violation of the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rulesof Professional Conduct if engaged in by a licensed paralegal practitioner if:

(c)(1) thelicensed paralegal practitioner orders or, with knowledge of the specificconduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or

(c)(2) thelicensed paralegal practitioner is a partner or has comparable managerialauthority in the firm of licensed paralegal practitioners in which the personis employed, or has direct supervisory authority over the person, and knows ofthe conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated butfails to take reasonable remedial action.

 

Comment

[1] Paragraph (a) requires licensedparalegal practitioners with managerial

authority within a firm of licensedparalegal practitioners to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm hasin effect measures giving reasonable assurance that non-lawyers ornon-licensed paralegal practitioners in the firm and non-lawyers ornon-paralegals outside the firm who work on firm matters act in a waycompatible with the professional obligations of the licensed paralegalpractitioner. See Comment [1] to Rule 5.1 (responsibilities with respect tolicensed paralegal practitioners within a firm). Paragraph (b) applies tolicensed paralegal practitioners who have supervisory authority oversuch non-lawyers or non-licensed paralegal practitioners within oroutside the firm. Paragraph (c) specifies the circumstances in which a licensedparalegal practitioner is responsible for the conduct ofsuch non-lawyers or non-licensed paralegal practitioners within oroutside the firm that would be a violation of the Licensed ParalegalPractitioner Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by a licensed paralegalpractitioner. The firm?s compliance with paragraph (a) resides with eachpartner or other licensed paralegal practitioner in the firm with comparableauthority.

[1a] Even though the concept of firmdiscipline is possible, a firm should not be responsible in the absence ofindividual culpability for a rule violation.

Non-Lawyers or Non-Licensed ParalegalPractitioners Within the Firm

[2] Licensed paralegal practitioners mayemploy assistants in their practice, including secretaries, investigators, lawstudent interns and paraprofessionals. Such assistants, whether employeesor independent contractors, act for the licensed paralegal practitioner in therendition of the licensed paralegal practitioner?s professionalservices. A licensed paralegal practitioner must give such assistantsappropriate instruction and supervision concerning the ethical aspects of theiremployment, particularly regarding the obligation not to disclose informationrelating to representation of the client, and should be responsible for theirwork product. The measures employed in supervising non-lawyers ornon-paralegal practitioners should take account of the fact that they do nothave legal training and are not subject to professional discipline.

Non-lawyers or Non-Licensed ParalegalPractitioners Outside the Firm

[3] A licensed paralegal practitioner mayuse non-lawyers or non-LPPs outside the firm to assist the LPP inrendering legal services to the client. Examples include sending clientdocuments to a third party for printing or scanning, and using anInternet-based service to store client information. When using such servicesoutside the firm, a licensed paralegal practitioner must make reasonableefforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatiblewith the licensed paralegal practitioner?s professional obligations. The extentof this obligation will depend upon the circumstances, including the education,experience and reputation of the non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegalpractitioner; the nature of the services involved; the terms of anyarrangements concerning the protection of client information; and the legal andethical environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will beperformed, particularly with regard to confidentiality. See also Rules 1.1(competence), 1.2 (allocation of authority), 1.4 (communication with client),1.6 (confidentiality), 5.4(a) (professional independence of the licensedparalegal practitioner), and 5.5(a) (unauthorized practice of law). Whenretaining or directing a non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegalpractitioner outside the firm, a licensed paralegal practitioner shouldcommunicate directions appropriate under the circumstances to give reasonableassurance that the non-lawyer's or non-licensedparalegal practitioner?s conduct is compatible with the professionalobligations of the licensed paralegal practitioner.

[4] Where the client directs the selectionof a particular non-lawyer or non-licensed paralegalpractitioner service provider outside the firm, the licensed paralegalpractitioner ordinarily should agree with the client concerning the allocationof responsibility for monitoring as between the client and the licensedparalegal practitioner. See Rule 1.2. When making such an allocation in amatter pending before a tribunal, licensed paralegal practitioners and partiesmay have additional obligations that are a matter of law beyond the scope ofthese Rules.

 

Effective November 1, 2018