Code of Ethics

Preamble

The Houston Metropolitan Paralegal Association ("Association") is a professional organization maintained for the benefit of its members, the legal profession and the general public. The paralegal profession is closely related to the legal profession with its main objection being to provide efficient assistance to those who practice law.

The individuals comprising the membership of this Association perform numerous diverse functions within the paralegal profession. As a result of this diversity, the Association has established and adopted a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility ("Code"). This Code cannot anticipate every situation, but is intended to offer general guidelines to its members in order to ensure that the highest professional standards are maintained in the practice of the paralegal profession. It is the responsibility of every member to abide by and adhere to the Code. The success of the Association will be judged not only by the ethical standards which have been established by the Association, but also by the adherence to and maintenance of these standards.

Along with the Code set forth below, the Association further adopts and incorporates herein the Canons and Ethical Considerations of the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas to the extent that they pertain to the paralegal profession, and the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the Legal Assistants Division of the State Bar of Texas ("Division"). To the extent the Code of the Division is in conflict with this Code, this Code shall prevail.

Canon 1.  A paralegal shall not engage in the practice of law as defined by the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association or federal, state or local statutes governing attorneys and their duties and responsibilities.

Canon 2.  A paralegal shall not perform any of the duties that attorneys only may perform and is barred from performing any duties an attorney is prohibited from performing.

Canon 3.  A paralegal shall use professional judgment in determining the extent to which a client may be assisted without the presence of an attorney and shall not render legal advice.

Canon 4.  A paralegal shall preserve and protect the confidences and secrets of a client.

Canon 5.  A paralegal shall avoid any conflict of interest relating to client matters.

Canon 6.  A paralegal shall maintain a high standard of ethical conduct, shall contribute to the integrity of the paralegal profession and shall strive for the preservation, effective representation and continued growth of the profession.

Canon 7.  A paralegal shall maintain a high degree of competency through education and training and through continuing education in substantive areas of law.

Canon 8.  A paralegal shall, in the practice of the profession, assume a responsibility for protecting the public interest by contributing to the delivery of quality legal services.

Cannon 9.  A paralegal shall at all times make his/her professional status known to clients and all others and never present himself/herself as legal counsel by words, actions, omissions or references.

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