Code of Ethics

Preamble: The MPA established its Code of Ethics in June of 1994 and reviews them annually. The MPA endorses the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (“NFPA”) Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility (“Model Code”), which the MPA’s Code of Ethics is derived from. Member of the MPA are expected to know and comply with the following Code of Ethics, which will ensure the integrity of the paralegal profession throughout the State of Minnesota.


Canon 1

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

  1. A paralegal shall achieve competency through education, continuing education, training, and work experience
  2. A paralegal shall aspire to participate in a minimum of twelve (12) hours of continuing legal education, to include at least two (2) hours of ethics education, every two (2) years in order to remain current on developments in the law.
  3. A paralegal shall perform all assignments at the direction of the supervising attorney promptly and efficiently.

Canon 2

A paralegal shall maintain a high level of personal and professional integrity.

  1. A paralegal shall not engage in any ex parte communications involving the courts or any other adjudicatory body in an attempt to exert undue influence or to obtain advantage or the benefit of only one party.
  2. A paralegal shall not communicate, or cause another to communicate, with a party the paralegal knows to be represented by a lawyer in a pending matter without the prior consent of the lawyer representing such other party.
  3. A paralegal shall ensure that all timekeeping and billing records prepared by the paralegal are thorough, accurate, honest, and complete.
  4. A paralegal shall be scrupulous, thorough and honest in the identification and maintenance of all funds, securities, and other assets of a client and shall provide accurate accounting as appropriate.
  5. A paralegal may consult the MPA Board of Ethics of non-confidential knowledge of any dishonest or fraudulent acts by any person pertaining to the handling of the funds, securities or other assets of a client.

Canon 3

A paralegal shall maintain high standards of professional conduct in compliance with the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.

  1. A paralegal shall be familiar with and comply with the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, under the supervision and direction of the supervising attorney.
  2. A paralegal shall refrain from engaging in any conduct that offends the dignity and decorum of proceedings before a court or other adjudicatory body and shall be respectful of all rules and procedures.
  3. A paralegal shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and shall not engage in any conduct that would adversely affect his/her fitness to practice.
  4. Should a paralegal's fitness to practice be compromised by physical or mental illness, causing that paralegal to commit an act that is in direct violation of the Code of Ethics or MRPC and/or the rules and/or laws governing the jurisdiction in which the paralegal practices, that paralegal may be protected from sanction upon review of the nature and circumstances of that illness.
  5. A paralegal may consult the MPA Board of Ethics of non-confidential knowledge of any action of another legal professional that clearly demonstrates fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation.
  6. A paralegal may consult with the MPA Board of Ethics if asked to or directed to assist any individual with the commission of an act that is in direct violation of the Code of Ethics or MRPC and/or the rules and/or laws governing the jurisdiction in which the paralegal practices.
  7. If a paralegal possesses knowledge of future criminal activity, that knowledge must be reported to the paralegal’s supervising attorney immediately.

Canon 4

A paralegal shall strive to serve the public interests by contributing to the delivery of quality legal services and the improvement of the legal system.

  1. A paralegal shall be sensitive to the legal needs of the public and shall promote the development and implementation of programs that address those needs.
  2. A paralegal shall support efforts to improve the legal system and access thereto and shall assist in making changes.
  3. A paralegal shall support and participate in the delivery of Pro Bono services directed toward implementing and improving access to justice, the law, the legal system or the paralegal and legal professions.

Canon 5

A paralegal shall protect all confidential and attorney-client privileged information.

  1. A paralegal shall be aware of and abide by all legal authority governing confidential information in the jurisdiction in which the paralegal practices.
  2. A paralegal shall not use confidential information to the disadvantage of the client, the paralegal, or a third person.
  3. A paralegal may reveal confidential information only after full disclosure and with the client's written consent; or, when required by law or court order; or, when necessary to prevent the client from committing an act that could result in death or serious bodily harm.
  4. A paralegal shall keep those individuals responsible for the legal representation of a client fully informed of any confidential information the paralegal may have pertaining to that client.

Canon 6 

A paralegal's title shall be fully and clearly disclosed.

  1. A paralegal's title shall clearly indicate the individual's status and shall be disclosed in all business and professional communications to avoid misunderstandings and misconceptions about the paralegal's role and responsibilities.
  2. A paralegal's title shall be included if the paralegal's name appears on business cards, letterhead, brochures, directories, and advertisements.
  3. A paralegal shall not use letterhead, business cards or other promotional materials to create a fraudulent impression of his/her status or ability to work in the jurisdiction in which the paralegal performs work.
  4. A paralegal shall not practice under color of any record, diploma, or certificate that has been illegally or fraudulently obtained or issued or which is misrepresentative in any way.
  5. A paralegal shall not participate in the creation, issuance, or dissemination of fraudulent records, diplomas, or certificates.

Canon 7 

A paralegal shall not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

  1. A paralegal shall comply with the applicable legal authority governing the unauthorized practice of law in the jurisdiction in which the paralegal practices.
  2. If the paralegal is participating in any programs that allow for expanded scope and/or limited direct provision of legal services, the paralegal shall follow all rules and regulations and remain in compliance with the program.

Canon 8 

A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest and shall disclose any possible conflict to the employer or client, as well as to the prospective employers or clients.

  1. A paralegal shall act within the bounds of the law, solely for the benefit of the client, and shall be free of compromising influences and loyalties. Neither the paralegal's personal or business interest, nor those of other clients or third persons, should compromise the paralegal's professional judgment and loyalty to the client.
  2. A paralegal should immediately disclose any potential conflict of interest to their supervising attorney.
  3. A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest that may arise from previous assignments, whether for a present or past employer or client.
  4. A paralegal shall avoid conflicts of interest that may arise from family relationships and from personal and business interests.
  5. A paralegal shall reveal sufficient non-confidential information about a client or former client to reasonably ascertain if an actual or potential conflict of interest exists.
  6. A paralegal shall not participate in or conduct work on any matter where a conflict of interest has been identified.
  7. In matters where a conflict of interest has been identified and the client consents to continued representation, a paralegal shall comply fully with the implementation and maintenance of the confidentiality of the information.


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