John contacts the office and wants to discuss the divorce with you. As a paralegal, what are you allowed to disclose to John?

Conflicts can occur with paralegals as they work for attorneys. Accordingly, what steps should be taken to manage these conflicts? For instance, there are times when only one party to a case is represented by an attorney. If this occurs, what are your rights and obligations to the unrepresented party during the litigation? Are you allowed to answer their questions? What should you do if they ask you inappropriate things? Further, let us analyze the situations below.

You worked as a paralegal for a law firm that handles divorce cases. Seven months ago, you switched to Nelson and McCarthy law firm. A client Carl wants to retain the attorney you now work for at Nelson and McCarthy. Your prior firm had, however, represented Carl’s wife Grace. You know that Carl and Grace were trying to negotiate prior to filing a complaint; however, Grace filed for divorce with the firm you previously worked for. Carl was served with the divorce papers. Now, he wants your present attorney to represent him for the divorce. Does this present a conflict of interest? Why or why not? How will you handle the situation and why?

Another client, Rae, wants to retain the law firm where you work to represent her in a divorce. You send out the initial letter advising Rae’s husband John of your firm’s representation and requesting that he contact your office. John contacts the office and wants to discuss the divorce with you. As a paralegal, what are you allowed to disclose to John?

Justify your ideas and responses by using appropriate examples and references from Westlaw (including primary sources such as cases, statutes, rules, regulations, etc.), government websites, peer-reviewed legal periodicals (not lawyer blogs), which can be supplemented by law dictionaries or the textbook. This means you need to use more than just your text and legal dictionaries.

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