Unauthorized Practice of Law – practice of law by a nonlawyer who has not been licensed or admitted to practice law in a given jurisdiction

     This page is continued from Legal Precepts Adopted into U.S. Law (from Europe) through the Constitution >>>> Roman “Civil Republic” State Law >>>> State Law Consists of Two Parts >>>> Substantive Law >>>> Officer >>>> Officers of the Court >>>> Lawyer >>>> Practice of Law:


unauthorized practice of law:

1. The practice of law by a person, typically a nonlawyer, who has not been licensed or admitted to practice law in a given jurisdiction. — Abbr. UPL. [1]

1. Conducting the practice of law without the license required by law.  7 Am J2d Attys § 73. [2]

1. Engaging in the practice of law without the license required by law. [3]

     Excerpt from Restatement (Third) of tie Law Governing Lawyers (1998):

     “The definitions and tests employed by courts to delineate unauthorized practice by non-lawyers have been vague or conclusory, while jurisdictions have differed significantly in describing what constitutes unauthorized practice in particular areas… .

     “Certain activities, such as the representation of another person in litigation, are generally proscribed.  Even in that area, many jurisdictions recognize exceptions for such matters as small-claims and landlord-tenant tribunals and certain proceedings in administrative agencies.  Moreover, many jurisdictions have authorized law students and others not locally admitted to represent indigent persons or others as part of clinical legal education programs.

    “Controversy has surrounded many out-of-court activities such as advising on estate planning by bank trust officers, advising on estate planning by insurance agents, stock brokers, or benefit-plan and similar consultants, filling out or providing guidance on forms for property transactions by real estate agents, title companies, and closing-service companies, and selling books or individual forms containing instructions on self-help legal services accompanied by personal, non-lawyer assistance on filling them out in connection with legal procedures such as obtaining a marriage dissolution.  The position of bar associations has traditionally been that non-lawyer provisions of such services denies the person served the benefit of such legal measures as the attorney-client privilege, the benefits of such extraordinary duties as that of confidentiality of client information and the protection against conflicts of interest, and the protection of such measures as those regulating lawyer trust accounts and requiring lawyers to supervise non-lawyer personnel.  Several jurisdictions recognize that many such services can be provided by non-lawyers without significant risk of incompetent service, that actual experience in several states with extensive non-lawyer provision of traditional legal services indicates no significant risk of harm to consumers of such services, that persons in need of legal services may be significantly aided in obtaining assistance at a much lower price than would be entailed by segregating out a portion of a transaction to be handled by a lawyer for a fee, and that many persons can ill afford, and most persons are at least inconvenienced by, the typical higher cost of lawyer services.[4]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Restatement (Third) of tie Law Governing Lawyers 5 4 cmt. c (1998).


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