Career Analysis Essay on Paralegals

Published: 2021-08-16
1414 words
6 pages
12 min to read
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Protocols are the critical governance to morality in every profession and institution where every job has as its admirable, culpable, directives and forbidden behavior. Once we become a part of various cultures, the rate of or responsibility increases, our character and those of the people around us have either a negative or positive effect to our profession and the community as a whole. Ethics and authorized practice are critical importance to every individual, and that reaches across the board and throughout the career and how a person presents him/herself in their profession. Every action and decision requires ethics regardless of whether one is communicating with the customers, workers, or assigning responsibilities.

Ethics in the changing world

Notably, in the world and society today, there has been a deterioration of integrity in the professions; for instance, favoritism, cheating, and corruption have been noted with significant concerns. It has, therefore, become a matter of concern for corporations and individuals on legal issues where individuals cannot trust a paralegal or a lawyer; hence maintaining professional ethics might be one of the fragile parts of a paralegal's work. Regardless of whether a paralegal is employed in a court office or works independently, there are professional ethics to govern him/her. For high-quality professional code, a paralegal needs to have a primary base in the history of professional conduct (Rhode & Deborah 111). It should be the paralegal's responsibility to perform their work thoroughly and confidentially and holding themselves accountable for their ethical behavior.

The national organization on matters concerning paralegal states that paralegals and legal assistants a paralegal must stick to the documented principles of professional ethics and the various guidelines of right conduct. One ethical dilemma of the paralegals are processes that are not authorized; as a paralegal becomes more knowledgeable and familiar with the law, they can provide answers to most common questions asked by the customer. He/she can be tempted to answer the questions in a similar situation. However, that can be judged as providing legal counsel, and a paralegal should keep off from giving responses and refer the client to the attorney (Cooper &Benjamin 205). When such a situation presents itself, the paralegal should act as a channel and deliver their client's questions to the attorney and then provide back the answers to the client. From the knowledge point of view, it could be possible for the paralegal to respond to the question; however, from the legal support they should not.

One of the primary roles of a paralegal is to ensure the secrecy of the client and compromising with confidentiality or privacy may be hindering the rights of the client. The situation may negatively impact the case if the other party were to get information that would be helpful in their arguing. It is, however, the obligation of the paralegal to remember that violation of any ethical dilemma can cost him/her their job since any action they take must be under the control of the attorney. Anything that a paralegal does without the supervision of the attorney is not considered as paralegal job. Evolvement of the new technologies has as well created new professional issues for paralegals and attorneys. Increased use of social media, voice mail, and email has caused several challenges with the clients. (Rhode & Deborah 111). The attorneys and the paralegals are therefore rushing to catch up with the new technologies because the legal jurisdiction is being blurred by the long arm of the internet. The issue is becoming increasingly complex for the paralegals because even when you advise on the internet, you cannot be sure of whom you are delivering.

The paralegal has the responsibility to check on the conflicts of interests and if any are found they are brought to the attorney's attention immediately. It will be unethical for the paralegal to handle conflicts of interests brought up by the opposing side because it will be their fault in case the party wins the case from that aspect. The paralegal must understand and follow the attorney's ethical regulations they are bound by those rules as agents of attorney and can subject the attorney to liability for their violation.

Current regulations/sanctions in the New York

Like most jurisdictions, New York prohibits the price of law by paralegals. The rule captures offering of legal advice and appearance in court and presentation of oneself as a lawyer. Section 478 of the New York's judiciary law indicate that it shall not be lawful for any ordinary individual to present themselves as an attorney at the court (Cooper &Benjamin 205). Section 484 of the judiciary law further provides that a non-lawyer cannot request for or directly be compensated for introducing him/ herself on behalf of another person other than himself as the attorney in any court or for preparation. Legal documents include wills, mortgages, and deeds.

New York allows some exception to this regulation such as legal services may be provided by the community officers to prevent cruelty to animals and students who have only had few semesters in law school or have just graduated and are acting under a procedure that has been approved by the appellate division of the Supreme Court. Interpretation of the statutes has been used to curve these exceptions (Cooper &Benjamin 205). Additionally, to prevent the non-lawyers from practicing New York's professional responsibility prohibits lawyers from assisting or sharing payments with those that are not authorized lawyers. Disciplinary rule 3-103(A) indicates that a lawyer is not allowed to partner with a non-lawyer if any of their activities in the partnership involves practicing law. Furthermore, section 3-102 of the same rule states that a lawyer must not give some of the due payments to a non-lawyer.

The regulations are necessary to protect the public from being represented by people that are not qualified. Only those that reach the required level of training are allowed to serve the clients, and therefore the client's rights are well protected and defended. Limiting non-lawyers indicates that lawyers are subjected to special ethical regulations which are not applicable to the non-lawyers. Most states require that a bar applicant goes through a character review and every lawyer takes an oath before admission. Non lawyer practice in limited because lawyer's activities are subjected to discipline. If non-lawyer practice is allowed, the disciplinary rules would probably lose their effectiveness with attorneys because they would no longer risk losing their livelihoods in case of suspension or if disbarred (Rhode & Deborah 111). The non-lawyer limitations serve to protect the legal system. If the non-lawyers are incompetence, it can result in flooding of additional claims in the court system delays due to errors and more litigation arising from improperly prepared documents such as deeds, contracts, and wills. Although most states statutes still prohibit unauthorized practice of law, significant non-lawyer practices still exist and have been experienced in the recent years which include self-representation and paralegal activities.

Although the provisions of the model rules and code provide lawyers with authority to delegate work, there are still many jobs not permitted to paralegals. They are not allowed to handle any work that needs the exercise of professional legal judgment and are only authorized to perform ministerial tasks. It would, however, be preferable if the paralegals that have been in the court system for a long time to be partly allowed to participate in the regular court jobs. The reason behind it is because they have probably learned much from their daily experience with the clients and would deliver quality services if given a chance (Cooper &Benjamin 205). If the court system considers training the paralegals on the necessary areas then, the workload of the lawyers and the attorneys would be largely reduced and would become more comfortable to handle several cases in the court at a time where a case would be taking a shorter time than usual. However, the paralegals should not be allowed to wholly assume the responsibilities of the lawyers because they are not well conversant with the unique codes of conducts of the lawyers.

Examples of unauthorized practice of law committed by paralegals

Below are some web addresses containing information on some unofficial practices of legislation that were undertaken by paralegals. Cited

Rhode, Deborah L. "Professional Integrity and Professional Regulation: Nonlawyer Practice and Nonlawyer Investment in Law Firms." Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 39 (2016): 111.

Cooper, Benjamin P. "Access to Justice Without Lawyers." Akron L. Rev. 47 (2014): 205.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: