Posts Tagged ‘paralegal attorney relationship’

Professionalism and the Departing Paralegal – Updated and Balanced

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Above the Law has a great post entitled “When Paralegals Burn Bridges,” that includes most of the text of a parting email the paralegal sent to his or her attorney (and blind-copied to the rest of the office.) The post is great because we all know the type of person to whom the email is addressed and would all relish the chance to send such an email. It also great because it acknowledges the problem the paralegal now faces in the title – he or she has burned bridges that cannot be rebuilt.

The bridges are not just to the firm being left. Word travels quickly. Even firms that agree with the assessment of the professionalism attorney being left will not appreciate the lack of professionalism on the part of the paralegal. Thus, while the email is understandable, it is not one I would have advised sending.

Assuming the factual accuracy of the email, the paralegal’s assessment of the attorney is correct:

That really screams professionalism let me tell you. I guess it just goes to show that even a good education can’t give you simple skills on how to work with people

Unfortunately this parting blast, even from the most dysfunctional firm (and this one seems very dysfunctional, also does not speak of professionalism. While the paralegal leaves “with my head up,” the head could have been held even higher if the email had been written and delivered in a professional way. (There is a professional way to do these things.) One concern I have is the position such a sudden departure may have on clients.

Bear in mind that I am not being critical here. I totally sympathize and empathsize with this paralegal. I agree with the decision to quit, especially if the paralegal or others have drawn the attorney conduct to the attention of the firm and no action was taken to correct it. It is precisely my understanding of and empathy for the paralegal’s position that makes me wish the parting had been accomplished with the  professionalism necessary to protect the paralegal’s future.

Not that anyone at the firm would care, but if the paralegal’s statements are accurate, the firm should dis-associate the attorney. If she acts this way with the staff, it makes its way to the clients and the public. Her lack of professionalism will be perceived as a lack of professionalism on the part of the entire firm. If nothing else, the low morale on the part of the staff costs the firm in productivity and effectiveness on a daily basis. When the low morale leads to the staff leaving, the costs of finding and training a replacement are huge.

To even out this post, I’m including a link to Melissa H.’s blog where she has been reporting on her decision to leave her attorney for another position in another state. Her circumstances are clearly not the same as she worked for an attorney worthy of some loyalty, but even at that her story is a welcome antidote to the one above and demonstrates some real professionalism.

By the way, a post on the Paralegal Today listserve indicates that Melissa is not the only paralegal fortunate enough to build a paralegal-attorney team relationship that engenders loyalty on both sides. Linda Whipple, a American Association for Justice Paralegal of the Year award winner whose work I’ve quoted before, writes, “When you work with one attorney for a long time and become a “TEAM” such as Bob Spohrer and I have become, if he had been working for another firm and decided to leave and form his own firm, I obviously would have gone with him – it’s a loyalty thing. He’s loyal to me and I’m loyal to him.”

Attorneys and Files

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

For an interesting and amusing take on file location management and dealing with your attorney’s foibles, check out “Why Am I the One Who Has to Find the File??” By Grace Thoreau in this month’s OLP Newsletter.

Grace has done a good job recognizing the attorney’s foible and coming up with a plan to address it. Her plan utilizes her ability to interpret “code” used by both her attorney and the attorney’s secretary. I advocate more open communication between attorneys and paralegals. To the extent each member of the legal team can recognize their weaknesses (in this case one of the attorney’s weaknesses is forgetfulness), plans can be implemented that address the weakness and prevent problems, so I’d prefer that the cleverness be put into that aspect of the problem rather than dealing with the problems that do arise.

I am aware that not all attorneys (or paralegals) are open to recognizing and addressing their weaknesses. However, we can take a proactive rather than reactive approach. In this case, that approach may be to develop a plan for tracking files once they go into any office, then go the the attorney with a “look what I have done for the office” attitude, rather than focus on the attorney himself. Of course, no one approach will work for all attorneys. It may even be that Grace’s approach is the only one that will work with the attorney.

Many attorneys think their paralegals need training when it is actually they that need the training. That is why I like to approach the problem, e.g., files get lost and the paralegal has to spend time looking for it, rather than the personalities. There are many such problems that paralegals and attorneys will mention to a third party, especially if given an opportunity to do so in an anonomous or confidential way. Often both recognize the problem and secretly blame the other for it, rather than taking a team approach to solving the problem.

By the way, I (and I think many attorneys) have a forgetfulness problem. It was often necessary to implement methods to prevent that problem from causing real problems. For example, my paralegals were instructed to never give me an original document of any importance – affidavits, deeds, etc. All originals were to be copied for me (assuming I had some need for them), and the original kept and indexed separately.

Jury finds for Paralegal on Unethical Oral Contract

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

A Florida jury has found in favor of a paralegal had an oral contract with her attorney for a bonus based on a percentage of attorney fees she generated. This is an interesting case on several levels.

One is the contract level, of particular interest because I’m teaching contract law this semester. The jury found there was a contract for 2004 but not for 2005, but of course there is no explanation why they so found and we do not have enough facts from the news report to come up with anything other than pure speculative theories.

On the level of ethics, there is the issue of an attorney sharing fees with non-lawyers, something prohibited by the Rules of Professional Ethics. If the attorney made this contract, which she continues to deny, it is clearly a violation of the rules. Presumably the paralegal knows the rules of professional ethics and consciously agreed to engage in conduct that violates those rules simply because it benefited her. I’m not sure I’d want to based a legal case on that! Even if you win, you lose your ethical reputation. By the way, did the paralegal have an obligation to report the offer of a bonus based on sharing of legal fees to the proper authorities when it was made

Also on the ethical level, is this an instance that illustrates a problem with the concept of a paralegal being regulated through the ethical rules governing their supervising attorney. Given the court ruling under the present system their is no penalty to the paralegal for entering into the unethical agreement or for failing to report the attorney’s unethical conduct. The entire penalty goes on the attorney even though the paralegal was clearly engaged in the same unethical conduct. It is difficult for paralegals to claim the status of a separate profession and the respect of being a professional under these circumstances.

There is, of course, also much to be said about the paralegal – attorney relationship and the necessity for clear (and in this case written) communications. There is not enough time to deal with this one here today. The topic is touched upon here and in The Empowered Paralegal.

Finally, combining the contract and ethical levels, the court ruling that the attorney cannot defend against the alleged contract on the basis that it violates the rules of ethics is an interesting application of the concepts of malum in se versus malum prohibitum, estoppel, and quasi-contract. (Recognizing, however, that there may be a difference between laws governing act such a gambling and the like, and “mere” ethical rules.)

In any case, you can find more on the case here and here with commentary on the first report of the case by Lynne DeVenney of Practical Paralegalism here.

Guest Blog Post – Paralegal Utilization

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Coincidences abound in the blogosphere. (What a word!) As I posted regarding unhappy paralegals and the prospect of improving their plight through proper utilization, a discussion entitled “Paralegal Utilization” began on the Paralegal Today discussion board. One post particularly caught my attention and I asked the auther, Sharon Lunsford, to provide a Guest Blog Post on her experiences for The Empowered Paralegal. She agreed and this is it. You may find it helpful to share some of it with your attorney:

Sharon Lunsford has spent her in-house paralegal career working for international retail corporations with a mix of corporate and franchise locations. Having also dealt with corporate maintenance, trademarks, real estate and other corporate matters, she currently specializes in franchising. Sharon holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in comparative politics.


In my 21-year paralegal career, I have always worked in-house. This is my fourth corporation so far. They have all been national retail businesses; at least two of them were Fortune 500 companies. I hope the following gives you a good idea of the typical corporate law department environment as I have experienced it.

Working Environment:

In every position I have spent most of my time on substantive legal work, except that in one job the paralegal part was half the job and running certain aspects of the department’s operation was the other half. Although I have sometimes had to do all my own copying, filing etc., I have not been asked to split my time between secretarial and paralegal assignments for an attorney.

I have been treated as a professional at three of the four positions, including the job with one of the smaller companies where I was actually a member of the “company management team” and attended periodic meetings of that group. My job at the other company (one of the smaller departments) was an odd situation as far as secretarial support, and the less said about that the better. At the same job, although the only relevant qualification for the job was that I had to be familiar with a computer keyboard and have reasonable word processing skills, they insisted on giving me a typing test the day I got there, after I was hired and had already left the other job. (I don’t even deal with agencies that require typing tests of paralegals, so you can imagine how I felt about that little surprise. Come to find out, their idea of treating a paralegal as a professional was not to complain if we took time off for a medical appointment.) I had some good people around, including the other paralegal and some of the businesspeople I worked with, but the company as a whole was not a pleasant work environment at that time in its history. I did, however, gain considerable experience in franchisee default issues and unusual state examiner issues, and the timing of my bankruptcy-related layoff put me in the right place for my next job.

 Office Space:

 At one job I went from a desk in the “bullpen” (room with 5 desks) to a cubicle to a glass office along the outside of the building. (Some years after I left, that office or the one next to it was shattered by a tornado after normal working hours.) In one I had a cube first in line from the corporate floor elevators. People kept thinking I was the receptionist. In another I had an office (no windows) the whole time, with lots of cabinet, shelf and worktable space. At the other I started with half of a large double cube area with extra shelving and then moved to an inner office.

 Secretarial Support:

 In each of the four positions I have had some level of secretarial support. This has included, in order of support level, not chronological order:

 1.   someone to bring my mail to me unopened and do nothing else for me (and act as hybrid secretary/paralegal and support the general counsel);

 2.   someone to open my mail, date-stamp it and hand it to me; type up documents that involved filling in very simple forms; make copies (large batches only); answer my phone if needed and send out mail and express items (and support the general counsel and one other paralegal);

 3.   someone to open my mail, date-stamp it and bring it to me; make copies; send faxes & bring me faxes; use a signature machine to apply management signatures to contracts as authorized; copy or scan contracts and contract amendments and send copies of the signed documents to franchisees; file correspondence and contract documents and index contract files; occasionally pull files; occasionally set up meetings and send out invitations on the email system; scan large batches of documents (e.g. contract files) for me to send to outside counsel as needed; take default/termination notices and other non-routine documents to executives for signature; occasionally assist in generating contract documents and inventory files for storage (and support one to three attorneys and one or two other paralegals); and

 4.   someone to check the tickler list every morning, pull the files diaried for that day and bring them to me; open my mail, date-stamp it and bring it to me; answer my phone when needed; make copies; send faxes & bring me faxes; send mail and express items; file; occasionally set up meetings or appointments; inventory files for storage and occasionally draft letters (and support the lead deputy general counsel). I could have asked her to bring coffee and it would have been considered part of the job. (Yes, our secretary was well paid.)

 Title and Pay Grade:

 In-house paralegals may be hourly non-exempt or salaried exempt employees. At one of the smaller corporations we had two levels – Corporate Paralegal (me) and (if I remember correctly) Senior Paralegal; at the other, there were also two levels – the hybrid secretary/paralegal (I don’t remember her exact title) and me, a Senior Paralegal. At one of the larger corporations we had two levels; one for paralegals trained on the job, titled Administrative Assistant–Legal Department and one for paralegals holding paralegal certificates from accredited colleges (not necessarily ABA-approved, because they weren’t aware of that process), titled Paralegal. Both were referred to verbally, and introduced to outside counsel, as paralegals. At the other there are three levels – Paralegal, Senior Paralegal and Senior Corporate Paralegal or Manager depending on the standard titles in place when the paralegal moved into that position.

 Examples of Substantive Legal Responsibilities:

 During part of my time working with franchise matters I have managed an annual interdepartmental franchise disclosure update process similar to the manner in which an in-house securities paralegal might manage a 10-K update process. Franchise contracts I have worked with have ranged from short fill-in-the-blank documents prepared by the franchise department to fairly complex documents prepared (usually by me) in the law department. At one company I have managed a franchise contract database and have been the “go-to” person for what’s in a franchisee’s contract (business and legal provisions) for a certain location. Franchise documents I have drafted at the different companies include franchise agreement amendments, release documents, default and termination notices, franchise inventory buyout agreements and international master franchise agreements. Another part of the job has been negotiating disclosure document issues with state franchise examiners. In addition, I have drafted transfer documents and managed franchise transfer closings either in person or by phone, email and fax.

 When I handled trademarks for one company I drafted all documents to be filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (applications, notices of opposition etc.) and worked directly with international outside counsel on international filings. When I handled trademarks for another company I just told our U.S. or Canadian law firm what we needed and they handled everything; the U.S. firm dealt with international matters through their international law firm connections. I much preferred being able to draft documents myself but different companies handle things different ways. At both companies I reviewed the U.S. Trademark Gazette for possibly infringing marks. When I handled real estate matters I drafted subleases, prepared or corrected Estoppel certificates and negotiated legal points with landlord’s counsel. At one company I tracked the details of several levels of subsidiaries, drafted written consents in lieu of board meetings and handled state corporate maintenance filings and state merger and acquisition filings.

 Examples (just the highlights) of the utilization of in-house paralegals in various areas of law include trademark paralegals who write the company brand use guidelines, transactional paralegals who assist in negotiating mergers and acquisitions and draft some or all of the needed documents; labor and employment paralegals who represent companies at mediation proceedings and draft responses to agency inquiries and litigation paralegals who gather information and respond to subpoenas, draft answers to interrogatories and draft responses to requests for production. (Sometimes this responsibility is shared; at one company I drafted the answers and responses for franchise litigation.)


 An in-house paralegal position can be as specialized or as varied as you want. In one position I handled all general corporate, franchise, and (for a while) trademark matters – basically anything that was not litigation (except some franchise litigation) or agency claims. At another I handled franchise and trademarks. At another I handled domestic and international franchise, real estate and odd state filings formerly handled by the tax department. Currently I handle franchise matters only.

 Other Opportunities:

 An in-house paralegal may be in a position to learn certain aspects of law department management. There is a small chance of jumping over to the business side, for those interested in that route. Among my four paralegal jobs, for instance, I have handled most facets of running a law department (network administration and documentation, budget process management, clerical staff training and/or supervision etc.). Law department administration is one of the alternative careers possible to someone with that type of experience. Another, in my case, would be contract administration. A real estate paralegal could move to a lease administrator position in a company real estate department, and I know one who did exactly that. Much larger companies of course may have paralegal managers; I have not worked with that additional management layer but it offers another type of opportunity for an experienced in-house paralegal

Continuing Legal Education:


I believe each of my employers has paid for at least one paralegal association membership. One even paid for ABA associate membership for several years. And one employer has paid the travel and registration costs for me to go to national legal conferences in my area of law.




I can’t discuss in-house positions in detail without adding this warning. I have interviewed for two different jobs where the paralegal was the only person in the law department and the decisionmaker/gateway for documents to be reviewed by outside counsel. I was very leery of those positions; in one case the company was just coming out of Chapter 11 and in the other the people conducting the interview were consultants with an accounting firm (???!!) and not lawyers. Fortunately I was not called back for a second interview for either position. I know someone who is constantly being put into an awkward spot because she is asked to handle certain contract and compliance matters without appropriate experience or training or the assistance of outside counsel. I would avoid that environment like the plague unless you are a highly experienced paralegal who knows where the line is and has the clout to require the use of outside counsel as needed.


If you’re not asleep yet (!), I hope this has been helpful.


Sharon Lunsford

Thank you, Sharon!


A New Year’s Resolution for Your Consideration

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I’m heading back to Maine for the holidays, so I don’t know how often I will be able to post this week, but I have managed to get this one in before I leaving!

Since the beginning of this blog, posts have discussed the issues of whether attorneys really understand what paralegal do and how to educate your attorney about your skills and role. The topic is often discouraging to paralegals, although Melissa H. of Paralegalese provided one encouraging sequel to the original post. The issue has been a recent topic of discussion on the Legal Assistant Today discussion forum in response to a question asking what the biggest and most common problem paralegals face. One post indicated the biggest problem was “getting the attorneys to trust your skills enough to let you handle substantive work.” Another responded:

It’s funny, but I feel like I sometimes have the opposite “problem” with my supervising attorneys – they’ll frequently ask me to draft a trial brief or similar, and then sign it with barely a glance-through. While I appreciate their confidence in my abilities, I also feel a pang of trepidation when I file those pleadings for them, because I’m acutely conscious of the fact that it’s not MY license to practice that’s on the line if I messed something up!

Previous posts here has dealt with paralegal-attorney communications, and the fact that the difficulties paralegals face in this regard vary depending on what type of manager the attorney is (while recognizing that it is rare for an attorney to be a good manager regardless of their style. Several posts have also dealt with the necessity for paralegals to take charge and manage all aspects of their work – that is the essence of being The Empowered Paralegal. Many of these elements were combined in a post by Linda Whipple, who I recently quoted at length in regard to another issue. She has not yet objected, so I’m going to do it again:

I have been a paralegal for more than 35 years, I have my 2 year paralegal certificate and about to finish my BS degree in political science this year. The attorney I work with now is a type AAA++ personality and who not only expects perfection but demands it! When I came to work for him nearly 11 years ago, I didn’t ask him what “tasks” I would be able to perform for him. He actually had 2-1/2 people working for him the day I started. I simply sat at my desk, started pulling cases off the shelf (an entire case) and reading it, making notes about what I thought had been overlooked in requesting discovery, what issues should be considered in upcoming motions in limine and a motion for partial summary judgment. I kept performing the “tasks” he asked of me which were no more than what a great legal secretary could do, but I had been doing more for decades. So as I went through case by case, I would type up a “case status” with where the case was, the upcoming deadlines, a draft of discovery that was needed to fill a hole in the case, motions to compel discovery that had gone unanswered for months, a draft of motion in limine, and a draft of a partial summary judgment (with the supporting brief)attached. I would put it on his desk early in the a.m. and when he came in, after the first case, he would ask “which law clerk did this?” I said, “no law clerk did that work, I did it myself.” He was shocked that I was capable of performing at that level. When he showed his surprise at my abilities, I simply replied, “It’s my job to know how to do these tasks and I DO know how to do them.” Ever since, we have worked this way and have a great working partnership. Bob now even says that I’m worth 4 law clerks to him and 2 2nd year attorneys because I know his cases inside and out. IF YOU TRULY WANT PARALEGAL TASKS, DEFINE THOSE TASKS FOR YOUR PARTICULAR JOB AND THEN TAKE IT UPON YOURSELF TO DO THEM WITHOUT THE ATTORNEY’S PERMISSION OR KNOWLEDGE. If he doesn’t like what you do, or how you do it, simply sit him down and ask him “what part do you have an issue with, as I’m willing to change the way I do it to meet you standards”. I know a lot of paralegals with more than 30 years experience and we’ve all had conversations about how we got to do the tasks that parallel our education and experience and most have told me they earned it the same way – not simply waiting for an attorney to “approve” of them doing the work, they just sat down and did it. I would recommend that to all the paralegals on this list serve.

Linda Whipple
American Association for Justice’s 2009 Paralegal of the Year

It may be necessary to change this approach a bit depending on your attorney, but the basic concept is right. A paralegal could no worse than to include adopting this approach as a New Year’s resolution.

Writing as a Team

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Two of my favorite bloggers, Lynne DeVenney of Practical Paralegalismand Melissa Hinote of Paralegalese have teamed up to illustrate the importance of the attorney and paralegal to write as a team. The post on Lynne’s blog is entitled, “Who’s the “Nice One” on Your Legal Team?” It’s short but effectively makes the point, so check it out.

Coincidentally, acting as a team was a major topic of discussion in my professionalism class last night. The post above shows how each member of the team can use their strengths to balance the other member’s weaknesses. As much work as possible should be done as a team from initial analyzing of a client’s fact situation to final implementation of a plan for dealing with that situation whether it’s a matter of litigation or a real estate closing. In addition to working as a team with the attorney, in larger firms you can work as a team with other paralegals. Even if they are working on other matters, you can consult with each other, proofread each other’s work, use each other as sounding boards, etc.

For these purposes, let’s all be the nice ones!

Dealing with A Problem Attorney

Friday, November 6th, 2009

The November issue of KNOW News included my article on solving problem attorneys. We are all familiar with the “problem” attorney archetype,  whether of the procrastinating attorney or telephone phobic attorney described by Dowell, or the micromanagers and non-managers described in my book, The Empowered Paralegal. For many paralegals the question is not whether they work for a problem attorney, but which problem attorney they have. This is, indeed, an important question if the paralegal is seeking a solution to the problem rather than just a reason to complain. Check it out at KNOW-A Magazine for Paralegals.

Another Attorney in Need of a Good Paralegal

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 reports on an attorney barred from practicing in the Federal Second Circuit do to missing deadlines and abysmal briefing:

A New York immigration lawyer has been barred from appearing again before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals due to missed deadlines that resulted in the dismissal of at least 12 cases and and substandard briefs.

“We want to make it clear that the deficiencies of [Karen] Jaffe’s conduct, in the aggregate, bespeak of something far more serious than a lack of competence or ability. They exhibit an indifference to the rights and legal well-being of her clients, and to her professional obligations, including the obligation of candor, to this court,” states a per curiam written opinion of the circuit’s 10 active judges. It imposes the practice ban by striking her from the circuit’s roster of authorized attorneys, reports the New York Law Journal in an article that is reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

One reviewing panel described Jaffe’s briefing skills as “abysmal,” the legal publication notes.

Certainly there are attorneys who cannot be saved from themselves by anyone. I’m not in a position to judge this attorney, but based on the statements of this court, I don’t think this is one. Meeting deadlines and seeing that legal documents are “as they should be” is what professional paralegals do. Solo practicioners often balk at the cost of a paralegal, but in cases like this the costs of not having a member of the legal team who can balance out the attorney’s weaknesses with complementing strengths are far higher than the cost of having such a member. In addition to preventing this type of problem a paralegal would likely make it possible for this attorney to serve more clients better, thus providing the income necessary to cover the costs of the paralegal.

Communication and the Attorney-Paralegal Relationship

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

The keys to an effective, sustainable attorney/paralegal relationship include respect for each others role on the legal team and communication about and within those roles. You can greatly improve the respect you receive from your attorney through professional conduct and high quality work (as opposed to just satisfactory work.)

In previous posts I’ve discussed, however, the confusion that may exist over the role of the paralegal. That confusion results not only in a less effective legal team, but in frustration and unhappiness on the part of both the attorney and paralegal.

You can help reduce the confusion by being aware of the potential for it, being clear in your own mind about what you can and cannot do, and being willing to talk to your attorney about it in an open, honest and non-confrontational way. This is especially true in obtaining the instructions you need to do your job correctly.

No one benefits from you spending four hours completing a research project only to find out you did not understand what the attorney was asking. Nor is it beneficial to spend four hours completing a project you do understand if a few clarifying questions would have made it a one hour project.  On the other hand, receiving highly detailed instructions or only unchallenging tasks that require little or no instruction wastes the attorney’s time, under utilizes you as a paralegal which wastes the attorney’s money and your competence, and leads to frustration on your part, if not his.

However, it is not likely that he did this intentionally. More likely, he was simply unaware that more was needed, either because that is his management style, he made faulty assumptions or he has an insufficient understanding of what you in particular or paralegals in general can do. He cannot read your mind, and you cannot read his.

So you can see that obtaining proper instructions means instructing the attorney.  We come back again to basic communication. In subsequent posts, I’ll discuss some measures you can take to prevent and resolve these difficulties.

Paralegal Whistle Blower? – An update

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Multiple sources are reporting on the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s action regarding a whistleblower complaint by former USDoJ paralegal Tamarah Grimes, a case previously discussed here. This report is from the Associated Press through the Anniston Star:

MONTGOMERY — The U.S. Office of Special Counsel says complaints brought by a U.S. Department of Justice paralegal in the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman were unsubstantiated. Tamarah Grimes, who worked on the team prosecuting the corruption case against Siegelman and HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy, filed a complaint in 2007 under whistleblower protection laws.

She accused prosecutors of mismanagement, failure to report improper contact with jurors and initiating a criminal investigation against her in retaliation for filing an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint.

 A DOJ investigation rejected the accusations. In a Sept. 29 letter to President Barack Obama, Associate Special Counsel William E. Reukauf said the findings appeared to be reasonable, and the office has closed the case.

Grimes has called the DOJ report on her complaint one-sided and incomplete.

Of course, I have no special knowledge about this matter, so I can only report what I read. This certainly would not be the first DOJ report that was one-sided and incomplete, especially when the report reflects on DOJ or related agencies.

I suspect we will be hearing more on this. In any case, it is a good case to spark discussions on the difficulties paralegals face when confronted with unethical conduct by attorneys.