Independent Legal Judgment Pros And Cons

756 Words 4 Pages
Independent Legal Judgment is an important concept for the regulations of both attorneys and paralegals. Independent legal judgment is defined as "the comparison and the evaluation of possible courses of conduct, and acting or making a decision after the various possibilities have been considered." Schaefer-Larose v. Eli Lilly & Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97220 (S.D. Ind. Sept. 29, 2009). While a lawyer may delegate tasks and responsibilities to a paralegal, the lawyer has a professional obligation exercise independent legal judgment to make the best legal decisions for his or her client. The role independent legal judgment plays for a paralegal is different than that of an attorney. While an attorney has an obligation to exercise the best …show more content…
A paralegal can perform delegated tasks that the lawyer would normally perform. A paralegal can do fact checking, legal research, and can prepare legal documents. The common definition of a paralegal is “can do anything a lawyer can do, except those things only a lawyer can do”; the part of the statement “except those things only a lawyer can do” applies to the tasks that are prohibited to anyone except licensed attorneys. These tasks include counseling clients, directly practicing law, and appearing in court. A paralegal is as adept and skilled as a lawyer in research and preparation but, because of licensing and certification regulations, can not actually practice law and take on clients of their own. These licensing and certification regulations require prospective attorneys to to meet requirements for education, moral character, and an ethical code used as a means to discipline those attorneys who violate the ethical rules of conduct. When a paralegal violates the ethic rules of conduct, the attorney is the one who is penalized because the attorney is in charge of reviewing and overseeing the work and responsibilities of a paralegal. Because a paralegal has not passed the proper examination of the law and have not met the ethical, moral, and legal regulations to practice law; a paralegal cannot exercise independent legal judgment and advice clients. Independent legal judgment is an obligation reserved only for practicing, licensed attorneys to advise clients in the most accurate and beneficial ways

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