Ethics Notes Chapter 4.pdf - CHAPTER 4 Rule 2 Duty to...

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CHAPTER 4 Rule 2: Duty to Clients Competence Rule 3.01 A paralegal shall: o Perform any service undertaken on client’s behalf to the standard of a competent paralegal o Not undertake any matter unless competent to complete it Competence is a paralegal’s ability to complete a task o Knowledge of general legal principles and procedures o Giving appropriate advice based on investigation/research o Implementing chosen course of action o Diligent, conscientious, and cost-effective advocacy o Timely and effective communication o Effective practice management o Training and continuing development o Compliance with the Law Society Act in letter and spirit When a paralegal discovers he or she lacks competence to complete a task, he or she must: o Decline to act for the client o Obtain client’s consent to retain, consult or collaborate with a competent licensee o Obtain client’s consent to become competent without undue d elay or expense Quality of Service Rule 3.02 A paralegal shall: o Provide courteous, thorough and prompt service o Avoid needless delays and expenses o Advise clients honestly and candidly o Not undertake matters or provide services outside the paralegal scope of practice Give careful consideration and make decisions that are reasoned and make sense in the circumstances Threatening Criminal Proceedings Rule 3.02(9),(10) A paralegal may only start proceedings or make complaints in good faith Do not threaten to initiate criminal or quasi-criminal proceedings, or complain to a regulatory body, solely to gain a benefit for the client Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule 3.03(11),(12) Alternative dispute resolution includes mediation, negotiation, and similar means A paralegal shall: o Encourage clients to compromise or settle a dispute where it is reasonable o Discourage useless legal proceedings Medical-Legal Reports Rule 3.02(18)-(20) Medical- legal reports are reports about a person’s health prepared by doctors and other health professionals Used to provide evidence of a client’s health in certain proceedings (personal injury, WSIB, etc.)
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Before requesting a medical-legal report, a paralegal shall ask the expert whether, in the expert’s opinion, the findings will help the client’s case If the answer is no, consider declining to obtain a written report Scenario: Expert completes a medical-legal report and sends it to the paralegal on the condition that it not be shown the client o If client instructed paralegal to accept a report on this basis, may accept the report o
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