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Who is the client?
Part 1: Who is the client
As you have probably noticed from your reading assignments, many of the ethical duties that legal professionals must adhere to revolve around the clients. Therefore we must first understand who is a client. Much of the reading and many of the hypotheticals in this class just assume the existence of a client. But that is not always so easy to do in practice. In the real legal world, paralegals are often the first to communicate with individuals that have not yet become official clients. Let's call these folks potential clients or PC's for short. As you will see when you finish this conference assignment, the line between a PC and an official client is not always clear. So in the weeks ahead while we study what will seem to be fairly clear and the definite rules for legal ethics, keep in mind that in the real world it is not always so clear who the rules apply to (who is a "client"?) or when they apply (when do the duties created by legal ethics apply?). The CALI lesson this week will help define who are clients and therefore who the duties of legal ethics apply to. Here is a link you can use to access other lessons about legal ethics in CALI (but you must be logged in first); http://www.cali.org/courses/2580.
First, go to the topic entitled CALI. Read and follow the instructions to gain access to CALI. There are two ways to access the client or not lesson. The first is: once you have accessed CALI and are logged in, go to CALI's main page, click on lessons which is on the upper right hand corner of the screen, then click on "Professional Responsibility" then scroll down until you see the Client or Not? lesson.
The second way to access the lesson is: once you are logged into CALI, go directly to the lesson by clicking on this link http://www.cali.org/lessonlink/660/PR14/2580/jq
Here is CALI's description of the lesson: This lesson reviews problems in client identification. The lesson is in the form of a game show CLIENT OR NOT?! in which students are presented with an individual who is claiming to be a client. The student may choose the type of liability/responsibility they wish to risk in giving their answer (Competence, Confidentiality or Conflict of Interest). They then will be asked under the circumstances raising that issue whether the individual is a client. Students may proceed through the entire lesson reviewing client identification under one or all of these three issues.
Lesson Completion Time: 45 minutes
Lesson ID: PR14
Now you are ready to run the lesson. Read the introduction and then click on and complete the lesson. You will receive a score but you don't need to do anything with your score; the lesson is meant to be a learning experience. If you received a very low score, I suggest you retake the lesson. Remember, you do not need to report your CALI score.
Second: written Assignment:
1. After you have completed the CALI lesson and read Opinion 32 (under Class Content), write a brief statement about what you will say to these callers that will ensure a potential client does not inadvertently become a client. This statement can be as short as one sentence. Write it out as if you were writing a script. For example: Hello Ms. potential caller, my name is Carol and ---well you get what I mean. As a paralegal for a large law firm, you have the responsibility of being the first legal professional to take information from potential clients that call the firm wanting legal services. Before you write the script, be sure to read this: http://nvbar.org/sites/default/files/opinion_32.pdf
Part 2: Unauthorized Practice of Law: Finding State Bar Association Opinions
Find the website of any state bar association but make sure it publishes its ethical opinions. Each state bar association has the authority to license attorneys, enforce the ethical rules of that state and sanction attorneys for violating the ethical rules. Most but not all state bar associations publish its ethical opinions on its website. The ethical opinions are the result of investigating ethical complaints against attorneys and sanctioning those attorneys found to violate one or more of the ethical rules. Alaska's state Bar Association publishes all of its ethics opinions on its website and so does Nevada. Please post your work as a main topic which includes the name of the state in the topic title.
Note that the American Bar Association is an educational entity; it has no authority to license or sanction attorneys so don't use its opinions.
Find the following information:
1. the state's ethics rules which will be on the state's bar association website. Now find the rule that addresses unauthorized practice of law (UPL). Compare that rule to Model Rule 5.5(a) and note any differences.
2. find one ethics opinion that applies the rule prohibiting UPL. The opinion you report below must be about UPL.
Post to this conference the following information:
1. give the name of the state bar association you are using and a link to its website.
2. describe how you found the state rules governing the state's Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
3. summarize the opinion/case that you found concerning UPL At a minimum the summary must include: a) the body that issued the opinion; b) the basic facts describing what the attorney did to violate the UPL rule; and c) what punishment was given to the attorney.
Part 1: Who is the client
As you have probably noticed from your reading assignments, many of the ethical duties that legal professionals must adhere to revolve around the clients. Therefore we must first understand who is a client. Much of the reading and many of the hypotheticals in this class just assume the existence of a client. But that is not always so easy to do in practice.