Question:
What is a Freelance Paralegal?
Answer:
Freelance paralegals, also known as contract paralegals, are no different than traditional paralegals except that they are not employed by an attorney in a traditional setting such as a law firm, governmental entity or corporation. A freelance paralegal is one that is essentially self-employed. They are available on an “as-needed” basis by many supervising attorneys in these settings to take on short-term or long-term projects. Contract paralegals can work on a specific case, fill in for paralegals that are on vacation or temporary leave or perform specific paralegal services.

Freelance paralegals are educated and qualified to perform paralegal work just the same as traditionally-employed paralegals. They can perform the same services from a remote location or from a temporary office within the law firm. Freelance paralegals perform paralegal work under attorney supervision, unless otherwise permitted by statute, administrative regulation or court rule. The paralegal work is legally substantive, delegated and reviewed by the supervising attorney, then delivered to the attorney when completed.

Question:
How is confidential information handled?
Answer:

  • A paralegal shall be aware of and abide by all legal authority governing
    confidential information in the jurisdiction in which the paralegal practices.
  • A paralegal shall not use confidential information to the disadvantage of the client.
  • A paralegal shall not use confidential information to the advantage of the
    paralegal or of a third person.
  • A paralegal may reveal confidential information only after full disclosure and
    with the client’s written consent; or, when required by law or court order; or,
    when necessary to prevent the client from committing an act that could result in
    death or serious bodily harm.
  • A paralegal shall keep those individuals responsible for the legal representation
    of a client fully informed of any confidential information the paralegal may have
    pertaining to that client.
  • A paralegal shall not engage in any indiscreet communications concerning the client.

Question:
How are conflicts of interest handled?
Answer:

  • A paralegal shall act within the bounds of the law, solely for the benefit of the
    client, and shall be free of compromising influences and loyalties. Neither the
    paralegal’s personal or business interest, nor those of other clients or third
    persons, should compromise the paralegal’s professional judgment and loyalty to
    the client.
  • A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest that may arise from previous assignments,
    whether for a present or past employer or client.
  • A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest that may arise from family
    relationships and from personal and business interests.
  • In order to be able to determine whether an actual or potential conflict of interest
    exists a paralegal shall create and maintain an effective record keeping system
    that identifies clients, matters, and parties with which the paralegal has worked.
    A paralegal shall reveal sufficient non-confidential information about a client or
    former client to reasonably ascertain if an actual or potential conflict of interest
  • A paralegal shall not participate in or conduct work on any matter where a
    conflict of interest has been identified.
  • In matters where a conflict of interest has been identified and the client consents
    to continued representation, a paralegal shall comply fully with the
    implementation and maintenance of an Ethical Wall.