Basic Training: Avoiding the Ethical Minefields of Nonlawyer Assistance In Your Practice
Balancing legal work and deadlines with the business side of law firm management can be challenging. For this reason, you need a professional staff that is well-equipped to assist you in various tasks from client intake and billing to social media. While it may be tempting to delegate work to capable legal assistants and paralegals, be wary of the Rules of Professional Conduct concerning supervision of nonlawyer assistants.
The ABA recently released Formal Opinion 506 providing lawyers guidance for legal assistants performing client intake tasks. The Opinion highlights Model Rule 5.3 concerning management and supervision of nonlawyers focusing on the lawyer’s duty to ensure that any nonlawyer assistance is performed in a way that is compatible with the lawyer’s duties. With respect to client intake, nonlawyer assistants can perform many helpful duties.
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