Nationwide, to cut expenses and to increase profits, some firms are allocating cases to "Case Managers", "Paralegals" or other fancy titles instead of using lawyers. This article will explore some of the ethics associated with using case managers. It has been reported that some firms have case managers that are, to some degree which varies from firm to firm, overseen by a lawyer. The case managers may just assist the lawyer but in some firms the case managers actually handle the entire case without the client ever even meeting the lawyer. There is clearly the practice of law going on there. Obviously a case manager is cheaper than a lawyer but the question is does the law degree matter and is it ethical or correct to delegate these responsibilities to non lawyers. After all if a case manager can work up an entire case why is it illegal for a non lawyer to do it on their own without a lawyer "overseeing" them, whatever that means?
There have been cases where law firm employees have been criminally prosecuted where they have case managers, paralegals, (whatever they want to call them) handle the case without any lawyer involvement. This has been considered the illegal practice of law by non lawyers.
Aside from the ethics or legality of the situation, as a consumer of legal services do you really think that a non lawyer can understand the legal issues involved and be a zealous advocate for a claim that they know they cannot lawfully file as a lawsuit because they are not a lawyer? Do you believe that a case manager who may or may not even have a high school degree can negotiate with a licensed trained insurance adjuster as well as a lawyer can. Maybe so in some cases (after all there are admittedly some hack lawyers) but overall as a consumer you have a choice. If it were me or my family I would choose a lawyer that is Board Certified and actually works on your case, not shuffles it to the staff. You have a choice as a consumer of legal services and you should carefully consider when choosing a lawyer if you are, indeed, .