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HomeRule Two
Rule Two: Competence

(a) A paralegal shall achieve and maintain a high level of competence.

(l) A paralegal shall achieve competency through education, training, and work experience.

(2) A paralegal shall participate in continuing education to keep informed of current legal developments of the law and technical support areas.

(b) A paralegal shall not perform a task if the paralegal knows that he or she is not competent to handle the task and must seek help from one who is competent.

Commentary

To provide effective assistance to their clients, many attorneys delegate responsibilities to a paralegal. Work completed by the paralegal goes a long way toward achieving the goals of the lawyer's client. In fact, such delegation of responsibilities has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court as an important step in making the delivery of legal services less costly. See Missouri v. Jenkins, 491 U.S. 274, 109 S. Ct. 2463, 2471.

However, if the paralegal's work is not completed accurately or if the paralegal fails to keep abreast of trends in the law, the paralegal may actually contribute to increasing the cost of the services provided to the lawyer's client. For this reason, it is imperative that the paralegal attain and maintain high levels of competency through participation in continuing educational programs and paralegal associations. Competent performance requires the legal knowledge, skill thoroughness and preparation necessary for the responsibility.