Can a lawyer be held responsible for a nonlawyer's conduct?

When you retain an attorney to assist you with a legal matter in Florida, your expectation likely is that you will work with them and only them. Yet for all of their knowledge of the fields in which they practice, attorneys may lack an understanding of certain specialties that may be needed in order to adequately represent you. Thus, your attorney may find it necessary to bring in others who are not lawyers to participate in preparing your case. Even though these professionals may not be attorneys, their actions can impact the outcome of your case. You should know, then, what responsibilities your attorney assumes when involving nonlawyers in your representation. 

While technically the term "nonlawyer" refers to anyone who is not a lawyer, the word (used in this context) typically refers to professionals such as: 

  • Insurance claim adjusters
  • Social workers
  • Accountants
  • Representatives of government agencies or financial institutions

According to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct created by the American Bar Association, whenever lawyer employs or retains the services of a nonlawyer to assist in your case, that attorney assumes responsibility to ensure that said nonlawyer operates with the same professional integrity that is expected from them. If a nonlawyer's conduct prejudices or hinders your representation, then your attorney shares in the liability if it is proven that they ordered or consented to the conduct in question. That liability can be extended even in cases where the attorney may have not had a hand in influencing it if you can show that they knew of the nonlawyer's unethical conduct yet did nothing to stop it. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy



Jacksonville Office
1300 Riverplace Boulevard
Suite 401
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Toll Free: 866-542-1996
Phone: 904-396-1996
Fax: 904-396-1991
Map & Directions

Miami Office
1395 Brickell Avenue
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 305-200-8674
Phone: 305-200-8675
Fax: 305-200-8801
Map & Directions

West Palm Beach - By Appointment Only
301 Clematis Street
Suite 300
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: 561-832-5991
Fax: 561-832-5985
Map & Directions

Panama City Office
305 Cherry Street
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-481-1386
Fax: 850-640-1247
Map & Directions

Tampa Office
10150 Highland Manor Drive
Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33610

Fax: 813-314-2163
Map & Directions