Paralegal Student Blog: Attorneys Gone Wild

The Sinclair Community College paralegal program in Dayton, Ohio had an interesting project for the Fall 2010 Quarter. As part of the project student Amanda J. created a blog entitled, “Attorneys Gone Wild: Lawyer/Paralegal Misconduct.” The entries appear to end when the quarter ended, so I’ve not added the blog to the blogroll here, but it is interesting to see a paralegal students perspective on legal ethics and the misconduct of lawyers and paralegal. The next-to-last entry spins off a post from this blog regarding a Florida jury verdict in favor of a paralegal who sued her former employer. She comments:

A Florida jury found in favor of a paralegal who entered into a contract with her supervising attorney to receive a portion of the earnings from the attorney’s fees.

If you have been paying attention in Legal Ethics, this is fee-sharing or fee-splitting and is prohibited for non-lawyers. The paralegal goes to court, knowing she has committed unethical behavior, will be fired, and will be known in the community for her unscrupulous behavior, yet still pursues the case which ultimately results in her supervising attorney being disciplined.

I find it strange that two legal professionals can go to court, both having committed unethical behavior and only one is disciplined. Even though the lack of a paralegal ethical code protects me from court discipline, I would like to have the confidence that any non-lawyer with whom I work is under the same rules and guidelines as any lawyer with whom I work.

If Amanda J. is still reading this blog now that her project is done, she’s likely to be interested in the views of practicing paralegals on this, so feel free to comment.

Warning to my students: I like the concept of this type of project as an educational tool, so be prepared!

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