Ethics Notes Chapter 3.pdf - CHAPTER THREE Fiduciary Duty A...

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CHAPTER THREE Fiduciary Duty A fiduciary relationship is a relationship of absolute trust and honesty between two people o Paralegal-client relationship is a fiduciary relationship o Act with scrupulous good faith o Advise with honesty and candour o Put client’s interests first Who is the Client? Rule 1.02 Client is any person who: o Consults a paralegal, and on whose behalf paralegal agrees to act o Consults a paralegal and reasonably concludes that paralegal agreed to act o Is a client of the paralegal’s firm Paralegal-client relationship does not extend to: o Client’s family members o Related entities (like a client’s business) Phantom Clients A phantom client is a person who believe a paralegal represents them when there is no such agreement Paralegal may owe duties to a phantom client if the client reasonably believes the paralegal acts for them Must take measures to prevent phantom clients Always follow up after meeting a prospective client o If client retains you, send an engagement letter o If client does not retain you, send a non-engagement letter Ensure third parties and unrepresented parties know your role Never give casual legal advice to family and friends Keep records of conversations with prospective clients Duty of Confidentiality Paralegals owe a duty of confidentiality to all current, former and prospective clients Cannot disclose confidential information unless: o Client consents o Required by law Confidential information is any information about the business and affairs of a client acquired in the paralegal-client relationship o Even the fact that a prospective client met with a paralegal is confidential Client Identification Obtain client identification for every new client matter For an organization, obtain: o Full name o Business address and phone o Nature of business o Identification of person authorized to give paralegal instructions
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For an individual, obtain: o Full name o Home address and phone o Business address and phone o Occupation Client Verification Obtain additional client verification when dealing with cash, securities or negotiable instruments on behalf of a client For individuals, obtain valid government I.D.
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