Articles Tagged with Unauthorized practice of law

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Notario Fraud Conference at the bar on September 24, 2014 from 1:00 to 4:45 p.m. at the OSB Center. The conference is co-sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of American Immigration Lawyers Association and in cooperation with the OSB Consumer Law Section. Participants will earn 3.75 Access to Justice MCLE Credits.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown will give the keynote address.

“…. You will hear up-to-date information about the growing problem of dishonest notarios, and learn about the remedies available to victims. Notarios are nonlawyers who commonly provide immigration, tax, and other legal advice to members of immigrant communities. Victims of notario fraud often pay thousands of dollars, only to find out they will never get the results they hoped for because of dishonest notarios who promise results they cannot deliver.…” [Link to “Notario Fraud Conference” information at the OSB/CLE website.]

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Court worker is fired after providing sample motion, which inmate uses to win DNA test and release,” Jul 29, 2013, by Martha Neil, ABA Journal.

Excerpt:  “A court worker who provided a copy of a winning motion for seeking post-conviction DNA testing helped Robert Nelson win the reversal of a 1984 rape conviction for which he had been sentenced to more than 50 years in prison.

But doing so also cost Sharon Snyder her job after court officials in Jackson County, Mo., determined that she had crossed a line by providing advice about a case, among other claimed violations of court rules, the Associated Press reports….” [Link to full ABA Journal story.]

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The OSB Bulletin, May 2012 edition, has a good article on the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) in Oregon. (You can also find it from the OSB Bulletin archives, which are available to the public.)

The article is written for lawyers but everyone will find something useful in it – and the things you learn might save you time, aggravation, money, and self-respect.

“The Many Faces of UPL: Protecting the Public from the Unlawful Practice of Law,” by Amber Hollister

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You can read the Oregon State Bar (OSB) “2011 Unlawful Practice of Law Task Force Report at the OSB website (under the Surveys, Reports & Research tab, where you’ll find other useful reports).

You can also read Oregon laws about lawful and unlawful practice of law in Chapter 9 of the Oregon Revised Statutes.

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Check Your “Attorney’s” Bona Fides! (Don’t be an April Fool.)

“I thought he was a licensed attorney.”
“I thought a paralegal could advise and represent me.”
“He said he knew Oregon law.”

If you hire someone who claims to be an attorney, or who hedges when asked, trust your instincts, because when your instinct detects hedging, your instinct is often a whole lot sharper than you are at the moment. It doesn’t mean it is right, just that it isn’t bothered with “being nice” or any other need to please. Be the adult and stay in charge of the situation.

Are you a licensed attorney in this state” is a yes or no question.

The answer should not be “uh, huh, or uhhhhhhh,” or, “ummm, uh uh, how are you today?” or “sort of,” or any variation on that theme.

The answer should either be “NO” or “YES” and “here is my bar card so you can check with the Oregon State Bar.” And then CHECK with the Oregon State Bar! Call them or check their website, for heaven’s sake.

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Ernie the Attorney links to this NYT story. Public law librarians deal with these questions every day and we back away slowly when asked “would you help me fill in the blanks?” or its predecessor, “what’s the form I need?” Filling in the blanks is fraught with so many dangers. If you are a librarian, don’t fill in the forms. Period. If you’re not an attorney and don’t work for the judge or attorney handling the case, don’t fill in the forms. If you know the person, you still may not want to fill in forms for someone else without checking first with an attorney, the agency where the documents will be filed, the court where the document may later be challenged, or other resting-place overseers for the documents.