“Quick Question” – Asked and Answered

May 28, 2015

Yesterday I posted about aquick questionemail I’d received. Several folks suggested responses, others just shook their heads knowingly.

This is what I did . . .

I took a deep breath and let it out, shrugged my shoulders and told my snark to take a break. Then I wrote back:

Technically, there are no quick questions. The answer could be short; the response, quick. The question, not so much.

I will infer from your question that you are neither a paralegal, nor an attorney. If you were, you’d know the answer.

My business is based in Georgia and therefore, I am prohibited by the state bar/state law from working with the public. Even if I weren’t, it is my choice, and prerogative, to work only with attorneys.

I hope that answers your question.

(My snark didn’t listen very well)

He responded:

Well actually I think of it the opposite but you definitely have a valid point.

Questions via email are never quick and they are unfair to the recipient.

Think about it, the reason we all hate email is it’s a time suck because some knuckle-head like me can fire off a two second email that takes you 10 minutes to craft a response to. Used to be you would spent just as much time on a phone call as me so the time sink was equal. The person who figures out how to rebalance the time equation will make a billion dollars!

Anyway sorry for the lame question and rambling response. Totally makes sense now that you mention it. I’m in the market for a paralegal to help with our corp docs. I can’t spend 350 an hour which is what my attorney wants to charge. [emphasis added]

I shall keep hunting!

Oh No You Didnt photo oh_no_you_didnt.gif

The old ‘I don’t want to pay a lawyer for services, so I’ll see if I can find someone to do it for less. I know. I’ll hire a paralegal.’ rationalization.

Forget snark . . . I’m angry. <insert Hulk / redhead references here>

It took several deep breaths before I could pen my response –

I understand your frustration, however, preparing corporate documents is considered practicing law. Paralegals are never permitted to practice law. It’s built into the name. Attorneys go to law school and pass the bar for the privilege of practicing law. Paralegals train to support attorneys. Therefore, we can prepare corporate documents under the supervision of an attorney.

There are some states that allow independent paralegals to offer limited services to the public – without attorney supervision. Preparing corporate documents falls outside the scope of permitted services.

If you find someone claiming to be a paralegal who can and will provide that service, be warned, that person is acting outside the scope of what is allowed. It is both illegal and an ethics violation. A properly trained and ethical paralegal would avoid being placed in a position that would cost them their professional reputation and livelihood.

‘Nuf said!

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