ETHICS : Top Ten Rules for Paralegals

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Appropriate for courses in ethics for paralegals, legal assistants, or legal secretaries at the undergraduate level. Also appropriate as a supplement in an Introduction to Law course or an in-house training program.

Top Ten Rules for Paralegals presents a straightforward upbeat approach to developing an understanding of professional responsibility in the field of law. Common everyday ethical issues in the real world of law are discussed in a conversational "plan English" style designed to make concepts more accessible and interesting for the student.

Specifically designed for today's paralegal students, Top Ten Rules was written by a leading authority in field of paralegal ethics, Deborah Orlik. It is a distillation of over 20 years of legal study and practical use of the rules of professional responsibility as a paralegal. This is the author's sixth book on the subject, however, this book takes a different, less dry, approach to the subject. The author warns the students to be prepared to use their own morality to test their threshold of right and wrong while discussing the scenarios presented in the book. The object is to place the readers in a realistic workplace context involving an ethical issue and ask them to use their newly gained knowledge of the law and of their own morality to work through the problem. This course of study will give them an opportunity to explore their feelings and opinions and get them ready to deal with issues on the job.

No one book can provide the answers to all ethical issues. But this text will give the student a starting place. By the end of this course of study they should be able to: 1) identify an ethical issue; 2) put it into a general category - one of the Top Ten rules; and 3) know where to start researching the answer to any ethical issue.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 172.7 x 231.1 x 10.2mm | 249.48g
  • Pearson
  • United States
  • English
  • 013119321X
  • 9780131193215

Table of contents

Preface to Student


Rule#1 - Have Integrity Why Start Here

We're in Charge of Our Own Profession

Report Violations - The Lawyer's Duty

Report Violations - The Paralegal's Duty

How Does This Apply to Me?

Does It Really Apply to the Paralegal?

The Threat of Disciplinary Action

Who Are "the Proper Authorities"?

Checklist for Reporting Unethical Behavior

General and Miscellaneous Misconduct Prohibited

General Misconduct and the Paralegal

Sexual Relations with the Client

Stress and Alcohol/Drug Abuse

Sexual Harassment

Proof of Unfit Character

Rule #1 Wrap Up

Rule #1 Review Questions

Rule #2 - Preserve the Confidences and Secrets of the Client Keep the Client's Secrets

What is "Confidential"?

Attorney/Client Privilege is Different

When is it Okay to Disclose Confidential Information?

Some Stuff That Happens is Not Confidential

One More Time: Attorney/Client Privilege is Different

Work Product is Confidential and Privileged

Technology & Confidentiality

Client Files and Confidentiality

Rule #2 Wrap Up

Rule #2 Review Questions

Rule #3 - Get and Stay Competent

What the Codes and Rules Say About Competence

Protection of the Public is the Goal

Minimum Standards

Professional Negligence

Competence in a Specific Area

Examples of Negligence

Negligent Disregard for the Client

Good Faith as a Defense

Standard of Care

Statute of Limitations in Negligence Actions

Professional Negligence Liability Insurance

Liability for Others

Rule #3 Wrap Up

Rule #3 Review Questions

Rule #4 - Charge Only Fair Fees Fee Agreements with Clients

Contingency Fees

Hourly Billing

Other Billing Methods

Other Fee Agreement Terms - Retainers

Pro Bono Work

Recovery of Fees From the Client

Recovery of Fees From the Other Side

Referral Fees

Client Files and Fees

Rule #4 Wrap Up

Rule #4 Review Questions

Rule #5 - Make Legal Services Available Access to Justice

Access to Information


Advertising and the Paralegal

Bad Solicitation

Good Solicitation

Corporate Clients and Solicitation

Technology and Solicitation

Direct Mail

Mass Disasters

Rule #5 Wrap Up

Rule #5 Review Questions

Rule #6 - Represent Each Client with Zeal and Dedication Due Process as Our Cornerstone

Due Process Requirements to the Client

Due Process Requirement to the System

Where is the Boundary of the Law?

Suppressing Evidence

Fabricating Evidence

Inducing a Witness to Testify Falsely

Allowing a Witness to Testify Falsely

Making False Documents

The Practice of Deceit

Deceit is Discovery

Employees and Deceit

Harassing Jurors

Overpaying Experts

Courtesy to Opposing Counsel

Communication with Opposing Counsel

Rule #6 and the Court

Courtesy to the Court

Give the Court Only Truthful Statements

Give the Court All of the Law

Lying to the Court and Dicta

File Only Righteous Claims with the Court

Gifts to Judges

Prosecutor's Role to Seek Justice Contrasted

Rule #6 Wrap Up

Rule #6 Review Questions

Rule #7 - Don't Practice Law Without a License What is the UPL?

Why Should Only Lawyers Practice Law?

Why Should We Care?

We Really Do Know What the Practice of Law is

Prohibitions on the Practice of Law by Non-Attorneys

Representing Other as UPL

Preparing Legal Documents as UPL

Advising Other and Books and Kits as UPL

What is Not UPL

Overlapping Functions - Not UPL

"Incidental to" - Not UPL

Doing Your Job - Not UPL

What About Disbarred or Suspended Lawyers?

Prohibitions Under Scrutiny

What is the Effect of UPL?

Exceptions to General UPL Rules

What is Definitely Not "Giving Legal Advice" - The Conduit Theory

Corporations and UPL

Lawyers Aiding UPL

Improper Supervision

Improper Division of Fees

Improper Business Relationships

The Lawyer's Responsibility for Non Lawyer Personnel

Supervision and Hiring



Enforcement and UPL Regulations

Rule #7 Wrap Up

Rule #7 Review Questions

Rule #8 - Be Loyal to Each and Every Client What is the Duty of Loyalty?

Your Outside Interests Divide Your Loyalty

Overreaching for Fraud

Transaction in Good Faith




Publicity Rights


Multiple Clients Divide Your Loyalty

Seller and Purchaser

Insured and Insurer

Husband and Wife

Debtor and Creditor

Representation of Corporations

Joint Representation of Criminal Defendants

What Others May Want

Who's Paying the Tab?

Rule #2 Creates Conflicts of Interest

Presumption of Conflict

Who is Disqualified?

Preventing Disqualification

Ethical Wall Theory

Waiver of Conflict by Client

Appropriate Action and Possible Penalties

Rule # 8 Wrap Up

Rule #8 Review Questions

Rule #9 - Work to Improve the Legal System Make the Law Safe

Assist in Changing the Law


Public Pro Bono Work

The Unsavory Client

Report Misconduct

Improper Use of the Law

Criticism of the Judicial System

One Last Word About Integrity

Serve in Public Offices

Rule #9 Wrap Up

Rule #9 Review Questions

Rule #10 - Don't Even Think About It Avoid the Appearance of Impropriety

Conflict of Interest

Exaggeration and Zeal

Protecting the Public Trust

Client Money and Trust Accounts

Relationship with the Bench

Rule #10 Wrap Up

Rule #10 Review Questions
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