American Bar Association issues guidance on using legal assistants

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued a formal opinion that provides guidance for lawyers on how to use legal assistants to perform client intake tasks under ABA Model Rules. The opinion highlights the benefits of using nonlawyer assistants but also warns that without proper policies, training, and supervision, this delegation could lead to ethical violations and unfortunate consequences for clients and lawyers. The guidance also focuses on unauthorized practice of law, which is covered by Model Rule 5.5. The standing committee periodically issues ethics opinions to guide lawyers, courts, and the public in interpreting and applying ABA model ethics rules to specific issues of legal practice, client-lawyer relationships, and judicial behaviour.

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