In the case of Hu v. Fang, 127 Ca.Rptr.2d 756 (2002), when the court said the paralegal’s error was “imputed” on the attorney, it meant that the attorney was responsible for the acts or omissions of his paralegal. I relied on ABA Model Rule 5.3 – Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants for formulating my answer.
Based on the holding in the Hu v. Fang case, an available sanction might be that the default would not be set aside since, unlike the instant case, the error was not caught prior to the default being entered and was outside thirty (30) days as in Hu v. Fang. However, if Mary Rose and her attorney follow the steps taken by the lawyer in Hu v. Fang to remedy the error the default could be set aside since this was a calendaring error. I relied on ABA Model Rule 5.3 – Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants for formulating this portion of my answer.
If the default is not set aside, the lawyer could be in violation of ABA Model Rule 1.1 – Competence since the lawyer is to provide competent representation of a client that requires legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary for the representation.
FACTS: April works in a law firm that defended an accused criminal who is now in prison serving a life term. April wants to write a series of magazine articles using the client’s history as her subject matter. Since going to prison, April and the client have become “pen pals” and she receives letters from him at home. April wants to use the content of those letters for her articles. ISSUE: Would April breach attorney/client confidentiality if she uses information in the letters she receives from a “pen pal” that was represented by her law firm? RULE: A [legal professional] shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client unless the client consents after consultation, except for disclosures that are impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, and except as stated in...
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