Are there special requirements for a legal paraprofessional to represent clients in district court?
Yes. For each case, complete and file the Legal Paraprofessional Pilot Project Certificate of Representation and Parties and Authorization to Appear in Court Form
. This will help the Standing Committee and court staff to identify cases that are part of the pilot.
Legal paraprofessionals are also strongly encouraged to bring a copy of their Written Agreement with Supervising Attorney
to each court appearance to assist and inform court staff and judicial officers if needed.
If approved for the pilot, as a Legal Paraprofessional, can I eFile using my own account?
No. The eFile system currently requires a Filing Attorney (a Minnesota licensed attorney). Please consult with your supervising attorney and request to be a filer with their eFile account, or request that your supervising attorney create a separate account.
If you are unfamiliar with the eFile and eServe system, please visit the File A Case page
for more information and to register for a training session.
Will legal paraprofessionals be able to eFile documents?
Yes. The legal paraprofessionals can eFile documents under their supervising attorney’s bar number. Paraprofessionals may visit the eFile and eServe
page for more information.
Are legal paraprofessionals required to eFile documents?
The same eFiling rules apply to a legal paraprofessional as an attorney. Legal paraprofessionals are an extension of the attorney of record.
Can I prepare and sign independently any of the documents listed in the Appendix?
There is no need for the supervising attney's signature on the documents listed in the Appendix.
Can I provide services in case types or proceedings that are not included in Supervised Practice Rule 12?
No. Pilot Project participation is limited to the civil case types and proceedings as outlined in the rule. Engaging in unapproved legal areas may result in removal from the Pilot Project.
Can I represent landlords in housing cases?
No. Representation in housing cases is only permitted for tenants at this time.
What happens if it is determined that there is a domestic abuse or child abuse allegation in a case, an outstanding Order for Protection, or Domestic Abuse No Contact Order? Can the paraprofessional continue to represent their client?
No. The paraprofessional would not be able to proceed in their representative capacity, and they should inform their supervising attorney as soon as possible.
The paraprofessional and supervising attorney should notify the court immediately if it is discovered during a hearing and ask the court to advise on how to proceed with that hearing. The hearing may need to be rescheduled.
Clients have a right to choose who represents them and need to be offered the opportunity to work with the supervising attorney, represent themselves, or choose a different attorney.
How can clients find and hire me to represent them?
Once approved, legal paraprofessionals and supervising attorneys will be added to the Roster
posted on the mncourts.gov website. Individuals can look for Pilot Project participants on the Roster and can see the specific locations and case types in which the participants are offering services.
How do I inform court staff and the judicial officer that I am participating in the Pilot Project?
Make sure that you have filed the Legal Paraprofessional Pilot Project Certificate of Representation and Parties and Authorization to Appear in Court on each case. In addition, when appearing in court, please identify yourself as a legal paraprofessional who is participating in the Pilot and provide a copy of your Written Agreement with Supervising Attorney if requested.
How will legal paraprofessionals obtain documents from other parties?
Both the legal paraprofessional and the supervising attorney should sign up as service contacts on each case in eFile and eServe (eFS).
How will legal paraprofessionals obtain documents from the court?
The process is staying the same for court-generated notices and documents. The legal paraprofessional should be added as an eFiling service contact to each case. If a notice is generated only
for the supervising attorney, the supervising attorney needs to provide a copy to the legal paraprofessional.
Will paraprofessionals be required to follow the same courtroom rules of decorum as an attorney?
Yes. Legal paraprofessionals will need to follow the same rules of candor, including courtroom rules of decorum, as anyone who appears in court. Legal paraprofessionals are required to follow MN Court Rule 2.01
regarding their behavior and ceremony in general and Rule 2.03 Role of Attorneys
to model their behavior based on those standards.
Do paraprofessionals need to be employed by a law firm to participate in the pilot?
No. The paraprofessionals may be employed by a law firm or be an independent contractor. In either circumstance, the legal paraprofessional is required to have a supervising attorney.
Will the paraprofessional be subject to discipline?
The Standing Committee has established a complaint process
to handle discipline matters.
How will firms manage conflicts?
Firms have an ethical responsibility to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest in client representation, which extends to conflicts affecting the paraprofessional's representation.
Will the Certificate of Representation indicate if the paraprofessional is authorized to appear in court?
Signing and filing the Certificate of Representation indicates the paraprofessional and supervising attorney are authorized to participate in the pilot. Judicial Officers, court staff and others may view the Roster of Approved Legal Paraprofessionals
May a judicial officer refuse to allow a paraprofessional to appear?
There is no discretion on the part of the judicial officer to determine whether or not a paraprofessional may appear. If a paraprofessional has been certified and they are on the roster, the paraprofessional is practicing within the rules. See Order
Is the supervising attorney required to assume representation of the client if the paraprofessional can no longer represent the client?
Yes. The supervising attorney is ultimately responsible for client representation. Further, the attorney should be mindful of this responsibility at the outset of the client relationship and address this possibility in the retainer agreement.
Clients do have a right to choose who represents them and need to be offered the opportunity to work with the supervising attorney, represent themselves, or choose a different attorney.
What questions should the attorney I work for ask our legal malpractice insurance regarding this program?
Supervising attorneys should contact their legal malpractice insurance provider with any questions. Relevant questions may include:
- Does the policy cover paraprofessionals?
- Does the policy cover independent contractors?
- Does including a paraprofessional affect my rate or coverage?
- Does the policy limit the number of paraprofessionals covered under the policy?
Should client and/or fee agreements be established between the client and the legal paraprofessional or the client and the supervising attorney?
Client and/or fee agreements should be between the client and the supervising attorney. The agreement may include references to the services the legal paraprofessional will provide to the client.