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Rule 8.5. Disciplinary authority; choice of law.

(a)Disciplinary Authority. A licensed paralegal practitioner admitted to practicein this jurisdiction is subject to the disciplinary authority of thisjurisdiction, regardless of where the licensed paralegal practitioner?s conductoccurs.

(b)Choice of Law. In any exercise of the disciplinary authority of thisjurisdiction, the rules of professional conduct to be applied shall be asfollows:

(b)(1)for conduct in connection with a matter pending beforea tribunal, the rules of the jurisdiction in which the tribunal sits, unlessthe rules of the tribunal provide otherwise; and

(b)(2)for any other conduct, the rules of the jurisdiction in which the licensedparalegal practitioner?s conduct occurred, or, if the predominant effect of theconduct is in a different jurisdiction, the rules of that jurisdiction shall beapplied to the conduct. A licensed paralegal practitioner shall not be subjectto discipline if the licensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct conforms to therules of a jurisdiction in which the licensed paralegal practitioner reasonablybelieves the predominant effect of the licensed paralegal practitioner?sconduct will occur. If both the jurisdiction where the licensed paralegalpractitioner?s conduct occurred and the jurisdiction where its predominanteffect was felt lack rules of professional conduct for licensed paralegalpractitioners, these rules shall be applied to the conduct at issue.

 

Comment

Disciplinary Authority

[1]The conduct of a licensed paralegal practitioner admitted to practice in thisjurisdiction is subject to the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction.Extension of the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction to other licensedparalegal practitioners who provide or offer to provide legal services in thisjurisdiction is for the protection of the citizens of this jurisdiction.Reciprocal enforcement of a jurisdiction?s disciplinary findings and sanctionswill further advance the purposes of this Rule. See Rules 6 and 22, LicensedParalegal Practitioner Discipline and Disability.

Choice of Law

[2]A licensed paralegal practitioner may be potentially subject to more than oneset of rules of professional conduct that impose different obligations. Thelicensed paralegal practitioner may be licensed to practice in more than onejurisdiction with differing rules or may be admitted to practice before aparticular court with rules that differ from those of the jurisdiction orjurisdictions in which the licensed paralegal practitioner is licensed topractice. Additionally, the licensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct mayinvolve significant contacts with more than one jurisdiction.

[3]Paragraph (b) seeks to resolve such potential conflicts. Its premise is thatminimizing conflicts between rules, as well as uncertainty about which rulesare applicable, is in the best interest of both clients and the profession (aswell as the bodies having authority to regulate the profession). Accordingly,it takes the approach of (i) providing that any particular conduct of alicensed paralegal practitioner shall be subject to only one set of rules ofprofessional conduct, (ii) making the determination of which set of rulesapplies to particular conduct as straightforward as possible, consistent withrecognition of appropriate regulatory interests of relevant jurisdictions, and(iii) providing protection from discipline for licensed paralegal practitionerswho act reasonably in the face of uncertainty.

[4]Paragraph (b)(1) provides that, as to a licensed paralegal practitioner?sconduct relating to a proceeding pending before a tribunal, the licensedparalegal practitioner shall be subject only to the rules of the jurisdictionin which the tribunal sits unless the rules of the tribunal, including itschoice of law rule, provide otherwise. As to all other conduct, includingconduct in anticipation of a proceeding not yet pending before a tribunal,paragraph (b)(2) provides that a licensed paralegalpractitioner shall be subject to the rules of the jurisdiction in which thelicensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct occurred, or, if the predominanteffect of the conduct is in another jurisdiction, the rules of thatjurisdiction shall be applied to the conduct. In the case of conduct inanticipation of a proceeding that is likely to be before a tribunal, thepredominant effect of such conduct could be where the conduct occurred, wherethe tribunal sits or in another jurisdiction. If the jurisdiction where theconduct occurred and the jurisdiction where the predominant effects of theconduct were felt both lack rules of professional practice for licensedparalegal practitioners then these rules shall apply to the conduct at issue.

[5]When a licensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct involves significant contactswith more than one jurisdiction, it may not be clear whether the predominanteffect of the licensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct will occur in ajurisdiction other than the one in which the conduct occurred. So long as thelicensed paralegal practitioner?s conduct conforms to the rules of a jurisdictionin which the licensed paralegal practitioner reasonably believes thepredominant effect will occur, the licensed paralegal practitioner shall not besubject to discipline under this Rule. With respect to conflicts of interest,in determining a licensed paralegal practitioner?s reasonable belief underparagraph (b)(2), a written agreement between the licensed paralegalpractitioner and client that reasonably specifies a particular jurisdiction aswithin the scope of that paragraph may be considered if the agreement wasobtained with the client?s informed consent confirmed in the agreement.

[6]If two admitting jurisdictions were to proceed against a licensed paralegalpractitioner for the same conduct, they should, applying this Rule, identifythe same governing ethics rules. They should take all appropriate steps to seethat they do apply the same rule to the same conduct and in all events shouldavoid proceeding against a licensed paralegal practitioner on the basis of twoinconsistent rules.

[7]Reserved.

 

Effective November 1, 2018