From IPE: The Top Ten Tips for Ethics in Legal Research for Paralegals

The Top Ten Tips for Ethics in Legal Research for Paralegals
guest author: Joseph A. Custer

Paralegals are expected to perform competent legal research, not only because your employers will insist upon it, but also because ethical standards demand it. Paralegals, like lawyers, must comply with legal ethics rules. Paralegal associations have established their own ethics codes. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAEPE), have all set out codes and competencies for ethics requirements. In addition, paralegals are bound by the same ethics rules applicable to lawyers and are bound to comply with their states’ adoption of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct (ABA Model Rules). See ABA Model Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegal Services. In regard to legal research under the ABA Model Rule 1.1 and Canon 6 of the NALA Code, the word ‘competence’ is paramount and permeates through the top ten tips featured below. I am not going to take up space citing to the various code sections with associated language in this short piece, you can peruse the aforementioned listed codes yourself. Instead I am going to offer the types of conduct and practice that will reflect following the rules and, just as importantly, following your moral compass, as you display your expertise as a competent, thus ethical legal researcher.

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