THE PROFESSIONAL PARALEGAL © 2009 JACKIE PAULSON

The Professional Paralegal

THE PROFESSIONAL PARALEGAL © 2009 JACKIE PAULSON
INTRODUCTION The proper definition of a paralegal as defined by NFPA is a paralegal is a person, qualified through education, training or work experience to perform 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. www.paralegals.org PARALEGALS perform the same functions as an attorney except those generally prohibited by UPL (unauthorized practice of law statutes). Paralegals cannot: 1. 2. 3. 4. Accept clients Set legal fees Give legal advice Represent clients in court

It is essential that a paralegal: • • • Recognize and evaluate relevant facts and legal concepts Organize, analyze, communicate and administer Resolve conflicts negotiate and relate well with various types of persons, often when these persons are in distress.

THE INTAKE PROCESS A Paralegal may be in the room as the attorney is interviewing the client and take notes. It is important to make sure the client can bring all important documents for the attorney in order to access proper legal evaluation by the attorney. If the client does not have all proper documentation it is important to tell the client to bring them as soon as they possibly can. Most clients are not sure of all their legal rights when they call an attorney or make a free consultation with an attorney for the first time. If you want your case to be best evaluated it is helpful to bring all the necessary paper work to the initial client interview.

THE PROFESSIONAL PARALEGAL © 2009 JACKIE PAULSON

CONFIDENTIALITY All office personnel, including volunteers, paralegals, and law office personnel must not talk about the client, the case or give legal advice. That is for the attorney only. “What you hear in the office stays in the office.” The client may give legal consent to disclose their information and in that case it is authorized. The duty of confidentiality continues after the lawyer client relationship has terminated. The only time confidences can be broken is when there is intention to commit a future crime. It is permitted for the lawyer to delegate functions to the paralegal so long as the lawyer supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for their work this is not breaking UPL (Unauthorized Practice of Law). What does a paralegal say when a client wants advice about their case? As a general rule whenever the client starts to give some of the “facts,” that is entering into forbidden territory. The proper answer is, “you will have to speak to an attorney, and I am not able to give legal advice.”

ILLINOIS NOTARY DUTIES

THE PROFESSIONAL PARALEGAL © 2009 JACKIE PAULSON
A Notary acts as an official, unbiased witness to the identity and signature of individuals who appears before you. The Notary signature is evidence that the notary observed the person sign the document and that notary confirmed the identity of the signer before notarizing the document. The person must sign the document in the Notary’s presence and have produced identification such as a valid Driver’s license which is the most commonly form of identification used today. The notary will log or journal the transaction to confirm notary serves performed which must be carefully kept. It is helpful to have the inkless stamp for a proper thumb print to be used to store evidence in the Notary Journal. NOTARYS CANNOT 1. Notarize unsigned documents 2. Execute a notary’s certificate containing a statement they know is false. 3. Perform any actions with intent to deceive, such as predating or postdating a document. 4. Authenticate the signature of an individual who did not personally appear before the notary at the time of the signature. 5. Perform a notary’s act when the notary is a party to, or directly or peculiarly interested in the transaction. 6. The Notary shall respect the privacy of each signer and not divulge or use personal or proprietary information disclosed during execution of a notaries act for other than an authorized official purpose. 7. The Notary shall seek instruction on notarization, and keep current on the laws, practices ad requirements of the office. 8. Cannot notarize for yourself if you are a Notary. 9. Questions or comments can be emailed to: organizzedjunkie@gmail.com 10.Jackie Paulson © 2009 All Rights Reserved

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