Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paralegals: Thursday's Trivia Question

Thursday, January 19, 2012: What is the best answer to this ethics trivia question?

What is the most ethical (and safest) action to take if you receive a privileged document from opposing counsel that is not intended for you?
A. Keep it and do not tell anyone you got it.

B. Read it, make a copy for yourself, and then send it back to opposing counsel.

C. Stop reading as soon as you realize it is privileged and contact opposing counsel for instructions on what to do.

D. Don't worry about this; your firm can handle the issue in court.

What do you think? Leave your comment below. I'll be back later with the answer and to add my comments


Paralegalese said...

C. I would stop reading IMMEDIATELY; confer with my supervising attorney; then contact opposing counsel for instruction on how to handle (do they want the material returned [mail/FedEx/courier] or would they want us to shred and provide a certificate of destruction).

Mianne L. Besser

Unknown said...

I agree with Mianne. The only acceptable answer is C. In addition, the person who made this error should be made aware so to help prevent future issues.

Carl said...

Oh my goodness, most definitely C! I agree with Mianne - stop reading IMMEDIATELY and confer with supervising attorney. I would also ensure any information that I did read was kept privileged and not discussed with ANYONE.

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

I agree with Mianne 150%. The second that any paralegal realizes she has a document, including emails, she shouldn't, she should immediately make her supervising attorney(s) aware of the situation. The supervising attorney should contact opposing counsel, and take it from there. The paralegal should not make any solo decisions about how to proceed. There may be legal issues involved, including whether the document is privileged or not.