THE PARALEGAL CODE OF ETHICS
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. ("NFPA"), defines a PARALEGAL as follows:
"A paralegal/legal assistant is a person qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer. This person may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work."
WHAT IS A FREELANCE PARALEGAL?
A freelance paralegal, also known as a contract paralegal is no different than a paralegal who is employed at a law firm, governmental agency or corporation. The difference is that a freelance paralegal is retained on a as-needed basis by a supervising attorney.
There are many varied settings in which freelance paralegals work:
- In a freelance paralegal business owned by a paralegal who preforms paralegal work
- A partnership of freelance paralegals working in different areas of law to diversity the services they offer
- Traditionally employed paralegals performing occassional work outside the scope of his/her regular employment
Regardless of what setting, a freelance paralegal must comply with the applicable legal authority governing unauthorized practice of law. Neither traditional or freelance paralegals my engage in the unauthorized practice of law such as:
- giving legal advice
- setting, negotiating and/or accepting legal fees
- signing legal documents
- representing a client in court
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations ("NFPA") stresses the ethical considerations of preforming freelance paralegal work. To find out more information regarding the Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Guidelines as published by the NFPA, visit http://www.nfpa.org.