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I have forgotten more law than you ever knew, but allow me to say, I have not forgotten much. -- Anon.
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. ("NFPA") is a professional organization comprised of paralegal associations and individual paralegals throughout the United States.
Members of NFPA have varying types of backgrounds, experience, education, and job responsibilities which reflect the diversity of the paralegal profession. NFPA promotes the growth, development and recognition of the paralegal profession as an integral partner in the delivery of legal services.
NFPA recognizes that the creation of guidelines and standards for professional conduct are important for the development and expansion of the paralegal profession. In May 1993, NFPA adopted this Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility ("Model Code") to delineate the principles for ethics and conduct to which every paralegal should aspire. The Model Code expresses NFPA's commitment to increasing the quality and efficiency of legal services and recognizes the profession's responsibilities to the public, the legal community, and colleagues.
Paralegals perform many different functions, and these functions differ greatly among practice areas. In addition, each jurisdiction has its own unique legal authority and practices governing ethical conduct and professional responsibilities.
It is essential that each paralegal strive for personal and professional excellence and encourage the professional development of other paralegals as well as those entering the profession. Participation in professional associations intended to advance the quality and standards of the legal profession is of particular importance. Paralegals should possess integrity, professional skill and dedication to the improvement of the legal system and should strive to expand the paralegal role in the delivery of legal services.
A Paralegal Shall Achieve and Maintain a High Level of Competence.
EC-1.1 A paralegal shall achieve competency through education, training, and work experience.
EC-1.2 A paralegal shall participate in continuing education to keep informed of current legal, technicaland general developments.
EC-1.3 A paralegal shall perform all assignments promptly and efficiently.
A Paralegal Shall Maintain a High Level of Personal and Professional Integrity.
EC-2.1 A paralegal shall not engage in any ex parte communications involving the courts or any otheradjudicatory body in an attempt to exert undue influence or to obtain advantage for the benefit of onlyone party.
EC-2.2 A paralegal shall not communicate, or cause another to communicate, with a party the paralegalknows to be represented by a lawyer in a pending matter without the prior consent of the lawyer representing such other party.
EC-2.3 A paralegal shall ensure that all timekeeping and billing records prepared by the paralegal arethorough, accurate, and honest.
EC-2.3 A paralegal shall be scrupulous, thorough and honest in the identification and maintenance ofall funds, securities, and other assets of a client and shall provide accurate accountings as appropriate.
EC-2.5 A paralegal shall advise the proper authority of any dishonest or fraudulent acts by any personpertaining to the handling of the funds, securities or other assets of a client.
A Paralegal Shall Maintain a High Standard of Professional Conduct.
EC-3.1 A paralegal shall refrain from engaging in any conduct that offends the dignity and decorum ofproceedings before a court or other adjudicatory body and shall be respectful of all rules and procedures.
EC-3.2 A paralegal shall advise the proper authority of any action of another legal professional whichclearly demonstrates fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation.
EC-3.3 A paralegal shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.A paralegal shall serve the public interest by contributing to the delivery of quality legalservices and the improvement of the legal system.
EC-4.1 A paralegal shall be sensitive to the legal needs of the public and shall promote the developmentand implementation of programs that address those needs.
EC-4.2 A paralegal shall support bona fide efforts to meet the need for legal services by those unable to payreasonable or customary fees; for example, participation in pro bono projects and volunteer work.
EC-4.3 A paralegal shall support efforts to improve the legal system and shall assist in making changes.
A Paralegal Shall Preserve all Confidential Information Provided by the Client or Acquired From Other Sources Before, During, and After the Course of the Professional Relationship.
EC-5.1 A paralegal shall be aware of and abide by all legal authority governing confidential information.
EC-5.2 A paralegal shall not use confidential information to the disadvantage of the client.
EC-5.3 A paralegal shall not use confidential information to the advantage of the paralegal or of a third person.
EC-5.4 A paralegal may reveal confidential information only after full disclosure and with the client's written consent; or, when required by law or court order; or, when necessary to prevent the client from committing an act which could result in death or serious bodily harm.
EC-5.5 A paralegal shall keep those individuals responsible for the legal representation of a client fully informed of any confidential information the paralegal may have pertaining to that client.
EC-5.6 A paralegal shall not engage in any indiscreet communications concerning clients.
A Paralegal's Title Shall be Fully Disclosed.
EC-6.1 A paralegal's title shall clearly indicate the individual's status and shall be disclosed in all businessand professional communications to avoid misunderstandings and misconceptions about the paralegal'srole and responsibilities.
EC-6.2 A paralegal's title shall be included if the paralegal's name appears on business cards, letterhead,brochures, directories, and advertisements.
A Paralegal Shall Not Engage in the Unauthorized Practice of Law.
EC-7.1 A paralegal shall comply with the applicable legal authority governing the unauthorized practice of law.
A Paralegal Shall Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Shall Disclose Any Possible Conflict to the Employer or Client, As Well As to the Prospective Employers or Clients.
EC-8.1 A paralegal shall act within the bounds of the law, solely for the benefit of the client, and shall befree of compromising influences and loyalties. Neither the paralegal's personal or business interest, northose of other clients or third persons, should compromise the paralegal's professional judgment and loyaltyto the client.
EC-8.2 A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest which may arise from previous assignments whetherfor a present or past employer or client.
EC-8.3 A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest which may arise from family relationships and frompersonal and business interests.
EC-8.4 A paralegal shall create and maintain an effective recordkeeping system that identifies clients, matters, and parties with which the paralegal has worked, to be able to determine whether an actual or potential conflict of interest exists.
EC-8.5 A paralegal shall reveal sufficient non-confidential information about a client or former client to reasonably ascertain if an actual or potential conflict of interest exists.
EC-8.6 A paralegal shall not participate in or conduct work on any matter where a conflict of interest hasbeen identified.
EC-8.7 In matters where a conflict of interest has been identified and the client consents to continued representation, a paralegal shall comply fully with the implementation and maintenance of an Ethical Wall.
copyright 1995 all rights reserved
National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.
P.O. Box 33108 Kansas City, MO 64114-0108
Telephone: (816) 941-4000 Facsimile: (816) 941-2725
Internet: [email protected]
[I-L Note: This is an excellent organization who could use your support. Check out their Web Site at http://www.paralegals.org]
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