Family Law - Chapter 1 - Intro to Family Law
Terms in this set (34)
the client's right to refuse to disclose and to prevent the attorney from disclosing confidential communications between the client and the attorney unless the communication concerns future commission of a serious crime; the privilege is established by statute.
Conflict of interest
a situation or circumstances that interferes with the attorney's or a paralegal's duties of zealous advocacy and loyalty to the client.
Doctrine of respondeat superior
the doctrine under which an attorney is held vicariously liable for the acts of his or her employees performed within the scope of employment.
a screening mechanism designed to protect a client from a conflict of interest by preventing one or more lawyers (or paralegals) within a firm from participating in any legal matter involving that client.
the standards or rules of conduct to which members of a profession are expected to conform.
without advance notice to or hearing argument from the opposing party based on the urgency of the matter or the harm that might otherwise result.
the body of law that deals with marriage, divorce, custody, adoption, support, paternity and other domestic relations issues, including matters related to nonmarital family units.
a contract between an attorney and a client regarding payment for the attorneys professional services.
Guardian ad litem
a person, usually a lawyer, appointed by the court to conduct an investigation and/or represent a party who is a minor or otherwise unable to represent himself or herself in a legal proceeding; the guardian's role may be limited to investigation of a particular matter, such as custody.
In rem jurisdiction
the authority a court has over a property or thing rather than over a person.
a geographical area in which a certain law or procedure is governing the authority of a court to issue enforceable orders concerning a particular type of legal matter, person, or thing.
Letter of engagement
a letter from an attorney to a client confirming that the attorney agrees to represent the client in a particular legal matter.
Letter of nonengagement
a letter from an attorney to an individual confirming that the attorney will NOT be representing that individual with respect to a particular legal matter.
an agreement between an attorney and a client that specifically limits the nature and extent of the professional representation to be provided.
intentional or negligent professional misconduct of an attorney that may occur in the form of a failure to properly supervise a paralegal.
a written or oral request that a court issue a particular ruling or order.
the authority of a court to issue and enforce orders binding a particular individual; sometimes called in personam jurisdiction.
a document in which a party to a legal proceeding sets forth or responds to a claim, allegation, defense or denial.
the technical rules for bringing and defending actions before a court or administrative agency.
without legal representation
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
a court order directing the administrator of a pension plan to pay a specified portion of a current or former employee's pension to an alternate payee to satisfy a support or other marital agreement.
Rule of attorney-client confidentiality
the duty of an attorney not to reveal any information relating to representation of a client; the rule is an ethical rule established in codes of professional conduct.
Subject matter jurisdiction
the authority of a court to hear and decide a particular type of claim or controversy.
laws that relate to rights and obligations/duties rather than to technical procedures.
Unauthorized practice of law
engaging in the practice of law without a license.
Unbundling of legal services
an alternative to full representation in which an attorney performs discrete tasks rather than comprehensive representation in a legal matter, usually at a substantial overall savings to the client.
Define family law and identify the kinds of issues that are addressed in a family law practice:
It addresses the rights and obligations of individuals in the formation, continuation, and dissolution of marriages and other "family" relationships.
Identify a minimum of three ways in which technology is influencing the practice of family law:
Some jurisdictions now manage dockets electronically and permit electronic filing.
Software products designed to support law practices now allow attorneys to manage caseloads, client lists, documents and billing far more efficiently.
At trial, attorneys are increasingly using PowerPoint and other media presentations to highlight elements of the clients case.
Describe the role of a paralegal in a family law practice:
A distinguishable group of persons who through formal education, training, and experience, have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.
Identify the primary purposes of an initial client interview, and describe the potential role played by the paralegal:
Identify the client's need for services; if any conflicts of interest; client's goals and expectations and what the firm can and cannot do; determine if attorney is able and willing to represent the client and if client wants to retain the attorney; discuss scope of representation and potential fees, costs, payment terms; introduce the primary members of the family law team and describe their roles.
Describes the nature and scope of attorney-client confidentiality and privilege; identify any urgent deadlines or emergency situations needing immediate attention; confirm and/or gather all info called for in an initial client intake form; agree on a course of action and plan for follow-up including execution of a fee agreement, completion of a comprehensive client questionnaire tailored to the subject matter of the representation, and identification of materials to be gathered.
Describe the characteristics of an effective fee agreement, and identify the various types of fee agreements that may be used in divorce cases:
is executed at the outset of the representation; is written in plain terms and in the language of the client if he or she is non-English speaking; clearly describes the scope of the legal services to be performed (and the tasks that will not be performed); specifies the fees to be charged for professional employees working on the client's case including the lead attorney, associate attorneys and paralegals; identifies the kinds of costs the client will be responsible for, including, for example, filing fees, telephone calls, travel, postage, and copying charges; spells out the circumstances under which the attorney may terminate the representation. Types of fee agreements: unbundling; limited-scope agreements.
List the kinds of resources included in a basic family law library:
The state's statutory code; court rules; case law; practice manuals; form books; a legal dictionary; a citation manual; legals newspapers.
Identify at least five ethical "dos" that should guide the professional conduct of paralegals:
The paralegal may participate in an initial interview with a prospective client under an attorney's direction; The paralegal may be paid a reasonable fee for services and receive bonuses and profit-sharing plan benefits unrelated to a specific case; the paralegal can provide to a client factual information that is a matter of public record (such as a court's order or the content of a statute) and may relay advice from the attorney to the client; the paralegal may communicate with opposing counsel as directed by the supervisor; the paralegal may complete tasks delegated by an attorney (such as drafting pleadings and discovery requests).
Distinguish between the attorney-client privilege and the ethical rule of attorney-client confidentiality:
attorney-client privilege applies in proceedings in which the lawyer is called as a witness or is required to produce evidence relating to a client, it prevents the attorney from disclosing attorney-client communications subject to limited exceptions. the rule of attorney-client privilege refers to the attorney's duty not to reveal any information relating to representation of the client, not merely confidences or secrets.
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