Can a Negligent Paralegal Be sued by a Client?
A paralegal is not only the 'right hand man' for an attorney; they are responsible for almost all work done on a given case. Almost all paralegals are indispensable to attorneys in the work that they are able to perform for them. The paralegal is the person an attorney looks to for help with all projects. This help requires not only having the knowledge to complete the work associated with each case but it also requires trust on the part of the attorney and paralegal. This trust but be shown in the work done and given as it can make or break not only the attorney's career but theirs as well.
The trust is the only thing an attorney has when it comes to having or finding a paralegal. Paralegals are not regulated or licensed by state or federal agencies. Paralegals do have the opportunity to become certified but this is not a requirement. Paralegals are then bound by high standards of professional behavior as well as ethical behaviors because the attorney that they work for is responsible for the paralegals behavior.
Although there are so many emphases on following ethical and professional behaviors, there are paralegals that fall through the cracks. These paralegals destroy their careers by being negligent in a case and cause a lot of damage in their attorney's careers also. Clients always name their attorneys in malpractice claims, but very rarely name the paralegal, therefore leaving very little case law available to define the standards of conduct for a paralegal.
To conclude, paralegals can be potential defendants in a civil legal malpractice suit. There are no criminal charges that can be brought against a paralegal but the paralegal can be liable for negligence or intentional misconduct if it resulted in injury to a client.
Discussion # 2
Advantages and Disadvantages of Licensing
There could be great advantages and disadvantages to licensing of paralegals. Currently there are...