Code of Ethics

It is the responsibility of every paralegal to adhere strictly to the accepted standards of legal ethics and to live by general principles of proper conduct. The performance of the duties of the paralegal shall be governed by specific canons as defined herein in order that justice will be served and the goals of the profession attained.

The canons of ethics set forth hereafter are adopted by the Association as a general guide, and the enumeration of these rules does not mean there are not others of equal importance although not specifically mentioned.

Canon 1. A paralegal shall assist in maintaining integrity and a high degree of competency throughout the legal profession.

Canon 2. A paralegal shall not perform any of the duties that lawyers only may perform nor do things that lawyers themselves may not do.

Canon 3. A paralegal may perform any task delegated and supervised by a lawyer, so long as the lawyer is responsible to the client, maintains a direct relationship with the client, and assumes full professional responsibility for the work product.

Canon 4. A paralegal shall not engage in the practice of law by accepting cases, setting fees, giving legal advice or appearing in court, unless otherwise authorized by court or agency rules.

Canon 5. A paralegal shall not engage in the unauthorized practice of law and shall assist in preventing the unauthorized practice of law.

Canon 6. A paralegal must protect the confidences and secrets of a client, and it shall be unethical for a paralegal to violate any statute now in effect or hereafter to be enacted controlling privileged communications.

Canon 7. A paralegal shall not act in matters involving professional legal judgment as the services of a lawyer are essential in the public interest whenever the exercise of such judgment is required.

Canon 8. A paralegal must act prudently in determining the extent to which a client may be assisted without the presence of a lawyer.

Canon 9. A paralegal shall strive for perfection through education in order to better assist the legal profession in fulfilling its duty of making legal services available to clients and the public.

Canon 10. It is the obligation of the paralegal to avoid conduct which would cause the lawyer to be unethical or even appear to be unethical, and loyalty to the employer is incumbent upon the paralegal.

Canon 11. The paralegal is governed by the North Carolina State Bar Code of Professional Responsibility and the American Bar Association Code of Professional Responsibility.

NALA Code of Ethics used by permission; as adopted by the RWPA Board January 8, 1980.