With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:
(a) a partner, and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers has comparable
managerial authority in a law firm, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect
measures giving reasonable assurance that the nonlawyer's conduct is compatible with the
professional obligations of the lawyer;
(b) the lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts
to ensure that the nonlawyer's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer;
(c) a lawyer shall be responsible for conduct of a nonlawyer that would be a violation of these Rules
(1) the lawyer orders or, with knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved;
(2) the lawyer is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the
nonlawyer is employed, or has direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer, and knows of the
conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated, but fails to take reasonable
(d) In addition to paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), the following apply with respect to a legal assistant
employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:
(1) A lawyer may delegate to a legal assistant any task normally performed by the lawyer except
those tasks proscribed to one not licensed as a lawyer by statute, court rule, administrative rule or
regulation, controlling authority, or these Rules.
(2) A lawyer may not delegate to a legal assistant:
(i) responsibility for establishing a lawyer-client relationship;
(ii) responsibility for establishing the amount of a fee to be charged for a legal service;
(iii) responsibility for a legal opinion rendered to a client; or
(iv) responsibility for the work product.
(3) The lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that clients, courts, and other lawyers are
aware that a legal assistant is not licensed to practice law.
Nonlawyers Within the Firm
 Lawyers generally employ nonlawyers in their practice, including secretaries, legal assistants,
investigators, law student interns, and paraprofessionals. These individuals, whether employees or
independent contractors, act for the lawyer in rendition of the lawyer's professional services. A
lawyer must give such nonlawyers appropriate instruction and supervision concerning the ethical
aspects of their employment, particularly regarding the obligation not to disclose information relating
to representation of the client, and is responsible for their work product. The measures employed in
supervising nonlawyers should take account of the fact that they do not have legal training and are
not subject to professional discipline.
 Paragraph (a) requires lawyers with managerial authority within a law firm to make reasonable
efforts to establish internal policies and procedures designed to provideensure that the firms has in
effect measures giving reasonable assurance that nonlawyers in the firm will and nonlawyers outside
the firm who work on firm matters act in a way compatible with these Rulesthe professional
obligations of the lawyer. See Comment  to Rule 1.1 (retaining lawyers outside the firm) and
Comment  to Rule 5.1 (responsibilities with respect to lawyers within a firm). Paragraph (b)
applies to lawyers who have supervisory authority over the work of a nonlawyersuch nonlawyers
within or outside the firm. Paragraph (c) specifies the circumstances in which a lawyer is responsible
for the conduct of a nonlawyersuch nonlawyers within or outside the firm that would be a violation
of these Rules if engaged in by a lawyer.
 While appropriate delegation of tasks to legal assistants is allowed, a lawyer may not permit a
legal assistant to engage in the "practice of law." The key to appropriate delegation is proper
supervision, which includes adequate instruction when assigning projects, monitoring of the project,
and review of the project. Lawyers should take care in hiring and choosing a legal assistant to work
on a specific project to ensure that the legal assistant has the education, knowledge, and ability
necessary to perform the delegated tasks competently.
 The following guidelines have been recognized as helpful in evaluating the education, training
or experience of a qualified legal assistant.
1) Graduation from one of the following ABA approved legal assistant/paralegal programs:
bachelor's degree, associate's degree, or a post-baccalaureate program. If not ABA approved,
graduation from a legal assistant/paralegal program that consists of a minimum of 60 semester credit
hours or the equivalent, of which eighteen semester credit hours are substantive legal
2) A bachelor's degree in any field, and either one-year employer training as a legal
assistant/paralegal or eighteen semester credit hours of legal assistant/paralegal substantive courses.
3) Successful completion of a national certifying examination that is specifically designed for legal
assistants/paralegals and which includes continuing legal education for maintenance of that
4) Seven years or more of experience working as a legal assistant/paralegal who has been
employer trained by and under the supervision of a lawyer.
 The essential elements of any lawyer-client relationship are the agreement to undertake
representation, the scope of that representation, and the fee arrangement relating to that
representation. In evaluating whether to undertake the representation, the lawyer must evaluate
whether any circumstances exist which would require that the representation be declined (See, Rule
1.16). Rule 1.2 requires that the lawyer consult with the client regarding any limitations on the scope
of representation. The lawyer must further obtain the agreement of the client, and in some cases
written agreement, with respect to the fee arrangement relating to the representation (See, Rule 1.5).
In addition, Rule 2.1 requires a lawyer to exercise independent professional judgment and render
candid advice. These matters are of such importance that they must be handled personally by the
lawyer. Regardless of how the legal assistant may be used in the initial stages of establishing a
lawyer-client relationship, i.e., gathering background information from the client and others,
preparing initial drafts of fee arrangements, or performing other incidental tasks, the lawyer may not
delegate responsibility to a legal assistant or other nonlawyer for deciding whether the representation
will be undertaken or for any legal opinion rendered to a client.
 Finally, nonlawyersNonlawyers may not hold themselves out as lawyers. It is the lawyer's
responsibility to see that communications about services rendered by the law firm and its nonlawyers
are not false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading (See, Rule 7.1), and that nonlawyer employees of
the firm understand those limitations. If the lawyer or a legal assistant becomes aware that the role
of the legal assistant is unclear, the lawyer has an affirmative duty to clarify the legal assistant's role.
Nonlawyers Outside the Firm
 A lawyer may use nonlawyers outside the firm to assist the lawyer in rendering legal services
to the client. Examples include the retention of an investigative or paraprofessional service, hiring
a document management company to create and maintain a database for complex litigation, sending
client documents to a third party for printing or scanning, and using an Internet-based service to store
client information. When using such services outside the firm, a lawyer must make reasonable
efforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatible with the lawyer’s
professional obligations. The extent of this obligation will depend upon the circumstances, including
the education, experience and reputation of the nonlawyer; the nature of the services involved; the
terms of any arrangements concerning the protection of client information; and the legal and ethical
environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will be performed, particularly with regard
to confidentiality. See also Rules 1.1 (competence), 1.2 (allocation of authority), 1.4 (communication
with client), 1.6 (confidentiality), 5.4(a) (professional independence of the lawyer), and 5.5(a)
(unauthorized practice of law). When retaining or directing a nonlawyer outside the firm, a lawyer
should communicate directions appropriate under the circumstances to give reasonable assurance
that the nonlawyer's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.
 Where the client directs the selection of a particular nonlawyer service provider outside the firm,
the lawyer ordinarily should agree with the client concerning the allocation of responsibility for
monitoring as between the client and the lawyer. See Rule 1.2. When making such an allocation
in a matter pending before a tribunal, lawyers and parties may have additional obligations that are
a matter of law beyond the scope of these Rules.
Rule 5.3 amended effective 03/01/97, 08/01/06, .
Reference: Minutes of the Professional Conduct Subcommittee of the Attorney Standards Committee
on 11/08/85 and 01/31/86; Minutes of the Joint Committee on Attorney Standards Meetings of
06/13/95, 09/15/95, 12/01/95, 06/11/96, 08/06/04, 04/08/05, 06/14/05, 09/09/05, 09/13/13, 09/12/14.