The Difference Between A Paralegal and An Attorney Essay Example
The Primary difference between a paralegal and an attorney has a license that allows them to practice law, represent clients directly, and provide legal advice for any legal matters that an individual may have. On the contrary a paralegal does not have a license that enables them to practice law. In fact O.C.G.A. § 15-19-51(a) provides that it is unlawful for any person other than a duly licensed attorney. As a paralegal it is your responsibility to carefully follow the rules in your states ethical codes. You will want to obtain a copy of your states ethical codes and be familiar with its contents. Bare in mind that even if you were to remember every code and regulation you can still unintentionally violate one of your professional duties. An act as such doesn’t just effect you and your credibility, but it all falls back on your supervising attorney as well. The paralegal an attorney are held to the same standard however the attorney reigns superior and is obligated to efficiently supervise his assistants. As a paralegal making sure that you communicate your position and acknowledge your ineligibility to give legal advice or provide or provide legal representation under any circumstances is important. That isn’t the only thing that paralegals have to be sure to abide by. One must also make sure you pay attention to such as duty of competence, confidentiality, and the duty to keep the client reasonably informed. Not abiding by the principles of these can all result in ethical violations. Be that an attorney has is aware of a paralegals unethical behavior he/she will be held responsible and be found guilty of violations when in return he/she may receive sanctions that really place a statin on their reputation.
Legal research and analysis will mostly be performed by paralegals and there are software programs such as west law and Lexis Nexis that can be used to conduct this task. Although it is not free to be used so it is advisable to know of the other things that can be accessed, such as primary and secondary sources, Primary sources of law include court decisions, statutes enacted by legislative bodies, rules and regulations, created by administrative agencies they can be used to help educate yourself of law. Secondary sources are often referred to as finding tools and can be helpful when researching cases. Legal encyclopedias, and case digest are examples of two. Reports and federal court decisions are also utilized in conduction of legal research-and analysis.
After you have read and analyzed a case, you may decide that it is on point and that you want to include a reference to it in your research findings. If so, you will summarize in your notes the important facts and issues in the case, as well as the court’s decision, or holding, and the reasoning used by the court. This is called briefing a case. Roger LeRoy Miller and Mary Meinzinger, Paralegal Today: The Legal Team at Work 7-4c (2017).
The IRAC method is commonly used to effectively brief a case. Issues. Rule of law, Analysis, and conclusion/holding. Different law firms may have different preferences based on what format should be used but this is the most widely utilized format.
To conclude my post I would like to explain a few of the things both attorneys and paralegals must be sure to remember. The importance to assure that none of these principals are violated is crucial. Ill start first with confidentiality and attorney client privilege’s since they both go hand in hand. All information relating to a client’s representation is considered confidential information. Some confidential information also qualifies as privileged information, or information subject to the attorney-client privilege. Roger LeRoy Miller and Mary Meinzinger, Paralegal Today: The Legal Team at Work 7-4c (2017).
Due to the fact that it can be confusing to dictate what counts as attorney client privileges’ as a paralegal its always a good thing to double check with your supervising attorney to be for sure. Like I stated earlier better safe than sorry. Which brings me to the work product doctrine Certain materials relating to an attorney’s preparation of a client’s case for trial are protected as privileged information under the work product doctrine. Usually, information concerning an attorney’s legal strategy for conducting a case is classified as work product and, as such, may be subject to the attorney-client privilege. Legal strategy includes the legal theories that the attorney plans to use in support of the client’s claim and how the attorney interprets the evidence relating to the claim.Id at 4-2c.
Though the roles for an attorney and paralegal are different they are one in the same when it comes to making sure that they are performing their task and duties competently . Providing the best services and upholding the rule of confidentiality. They can do this by not taking their work home and not sharing anything related to the clients with anyone outside of the attorney paralegal relationship.