2010 MAP Student Scholarship Essay Question
Jane Pratt was thrilled to begin her new job at Clooney, Pitt and Damon, LLC, an internationally known and respected litigation firm headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. After many years at very small criminal defense firm, she was ready for a change.
To Jane’s delight, she was almost immediately thrust into a high-level international tax case involving several major corporations from around the globe. One day she received an email from Mr. Affleck, the CEO of the subsidiary of their client firm. The email contained what Jane believed could be some very sensitive information, so after she answered the email, she promptly deleted and emptied her email trash and she instructed Mr. Affleck to do the same, which he did.
Jane and Mr. Affleck continued to work together extensively and grew to be good friends. In the course of her work on another matter entirely – a banking matter – she learned that Mr. Affleck’s wife was engaging in transactions that indicated she was preparing to file for divorce. Without divulging any information at all about the specific banking transactions or about Mrs. Affleck, Jane hinted to Mr. Affleck that he should keep a close eye on his personal banking affairs, making it sound as though it was general advice from one professional to another.
The litigation went on for many months. Jane took an active role in many aspects of the case and soon began assuming a leadership role. As their professional relationship progressed, Mr. Affleck came to depend upon Jane’s legal acumen. Many times he asked her to explain terminology or direct him to an applicable rule or statute, and Jane was always able to do so. Jane assisted Mr. Affleck in completing forms, answering interrogatories, and preparing for depositions, always under the close supervision of her attorney. One day during settlement negotiations, Mr. Affleck asked Jane whether he should accede to his opponent’s demands on a small, interim discovery matter that would have no real effect on the outcome of the case. Jane, after ascertaining that the matter would not affect the final outcome, told Mr. Affleck that he should give in on this small matter, since it would have the effect of making the opponent believe he had gotten a victory, when really he would not have.
Mr. Affleck decided to give the opponent the information he sought, but asked Jane to convey the message. She called the opposing attorney and said the following:
“Good morning, this is Jane Pratt of Clooney, Pitt, and Damon in Rockville, Maryland. In your letter of January 28, 2008 you requested information regarding Mr. Affleck’s ownership of shares in GM. He does, indeed, own several shares of that stock.”
(Limit your response to two pages, double-spaced, 12 point font)
- Identify any ethical/professional conduct considerations, referencing the related Canon(s) from the Maryland Association of Paralegals, Inc. Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Code.
- For each ethical/professional conduct consideration identified above, provide the following for each consideration:
- How did the paralegal manage the ethical consideration; was the paralegal’s actions appropriate (in accordance with the Code)? Briefly explain.
- If the paralegal’s action(s) were inappropriate (in violation of the Code), briefly explain why.