Unauthorized Practice of Law:
The paralegal and UPL
Polly Paralegal finds himself in an ethical dilemma when Mr. Stan Smith asks him “Do the grounds for divorce in North Carolina include adultery?” A day later, the wife of Stan Smith asks if she has grounds for divorce in the same state because her husband has committed adultery. If Polly Paralegal answers that question for either one of his friends he will be committing UPL or Unauthorized Practice of Law. The consequences for UPL can be devastating to a paralegal and the entire law office that the paralegal that is employed by. It is Paralegal Polly’s obligation to know and follow the rules and regulations put forth by the State Board. The rules are said and stated for Board approved attorneys permitted to practice law. However, all employees under the supervising attorney are obligated to follow the same regulations and rules laid down by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Therefore the supervising attorney for Paralegal Polly is reliable for the actions that he takes. If Paralegal Polly answers any of his friends questions with anything that could be considered legal advice he is committing UPL. In the state of Idaho Unauthorized Practice of Law is governed by the Idaho Bar Commission Rules or IBCR. The rules 800 through 809 under Section II have been amended as of August 1, 2010. The definition of Unauthorized Practice of Law is “Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) means the practice of law without being duly qualified to do so, as prohibited by statute, court rule, or case law of the state.” (http://www.isb.idaho.gov/pdf/rules/ibcr.pdf) The reasons for these rules and regulations are to protect the common people from being cheated while seeking legal advice. The guidelines of practice of law consist of the lawyer to be licensed by the board of the state they intend to practice in, and must pass the tests of understanding of the laws, moral character, and competence to be able to practice law....
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