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Professional Responisbility Ethics - Research Paper Example

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Professional Responsibility Ethics: Case Study It becomes evident from the given case study that Attorney has selected a Legal Assistant. Presently, the highly skilled and experienced Legal Assistant is almost single-handedly managing the clients…
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Professional Responisbility Ethics
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Download file to see previous pages And the Attorney, after reading the draft prepared by the Legal Assistant, decides whether the firm would handle the case, and then the attorney decides the settlement range, strategies, and ultimately finalizes the settlement. The information regarding case strategies are conveyed to the client by the Legal assistant. In addition, the legal assistant interviews witnesses, and negotiate settlement number with the insurance company. According to Canon 3 EC 3-2 of the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility, the sensitive variations in the considerations that bear on legal determinations often make it difficult even for a lawyer to exercise appropriate professional judgment, and it is therefore essential that the personal nature of the relationship of client and lawyer be preserved. As a result, the American Bar points out that a competent professional judgment requires trained familiarity with law and legal processes, and an analytical approach to legal problems. Admittedly, Attorney can claim that the Legal Assistant was a law student and had considerable amount of experience in handling such cases. However, the American Bar Association reminds that a non-lawyer, despite some experience, is not governed by the same rules in matters of integrity or legal competence as an attorney is. That means, despite the great degree of skills and experience of the Legal Assistant, the legal assistant cannot be entrusted such tasks which are to be done by the Attorney. However, there are disputes regarding as to what constitutes the practice of law. It is, in fact, difficult to explain in concrete terms what constitutes legal practice. However, the mere fact is that people go to a lawyer when they are in need of a professional legal judgment (EC 3-5). If this is the case, it becomes evident that Attorney has blatantly violated the ethical codes as Attorney does not directly interact with the clients. The initial interview is solely handled by Legal Assistant without any supervision of Attorney. Thereafter, it is the Legal Assistant who makes a draft of the complaint for the Attorney to read. Purely based on this report, Attorney decides if she would take up the case. That means, the clients are denied their right to listen to the legal opinion of a lawyer regarding the matter. It is pointed out in EC 3-4 that lay people who seek legal services are not in a position to judge if they will receive proper professional attention. Also, legal matters are very serious matters that involve confidences, reputation, property, freedom, or even life of the client. So, when a person approaches Attorney with such serious legal matters which are highly confidential and demanding, it is highly improper to permit a non-lawyer to handle the issue even without supervision. In addition is the fact that such non-lawyer assistants, despite experience and skills, are not subjected to the regulations of the legal profession. Admittedly, EC 3-6 provides an even clearer view of the situation. According to the guideline, if a lawyer wants to delegate a task to a clerk, secretary, or any other lay person, the lawyer must ensure direct relationship with his client. Now, going back to the case study, it becomes evident that Attorney does not keep any relationship with his clients at all. The attorney does not allow direct interaction or consultation, and lets the Legal Assistant conduct the initial intervie ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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