What is Unauthorized Practice of Law In {flood{ California

Paralegals and Legal Document Assistants

Law Offices of Donald E Glass in Stockton
$295 to $995 Flat Legal Fee Divorce Attorney
www.AttorneyPreparedDivorceForms.com
www.CaliforniaOnlineDivorceAttorney.com

(951)  326-8005

Here’s an overview of what paralegals can not do:

  • Establish an attorney/client relationship.   Although they can screen potential clients and gather information regarding a case, only attorneys can decide whether or not to accept a particular case.
  • Set legal fees.   But they can prepare the retainer agreement according to the specifications of their supervising attorney.
  • Represent clients in court.   Appearing in court on someone else’s behalf requires the use of an attorney’s judgment and skills.
  • Give legal advice or direct a client regarding how they should proceed in a legal matter. Any communication must be carefully couched as coming from the attorney or simple sharing of facts.
  • Act as an attorney and make unsupervised legal decisions.

 

Conclusion in Stockton.

The practice of law in California is generally restricted to active members of the California State Bar.  In addition, the California courts have expansively defined the “practice of law” to include much more than court appearances.

As such, the “practice of law” includes:

  • the drafting of court papers,
  • the preparation of legal papers,
  • providing legal advice, and most activities that require the application of law to fact in a specific situation.

People who are not licensed California lawyers but provide these kinds of services thus risk engaging in the illegal and unauthorized practice of law.

Consumers are tempted to use paralegals and legal document assistants as alternatives to California lawyers in order to save on legal fees, and rely on these alternatives to be honest as to the services they can and cannot legally provide.  The result is constant pressure on the line that divides the activities constituting the practice of law from the activities that do not.  Given that the unauthorized practice of law is illegal, however, it serves everyone’s interest to know exactly what constitutes the “practice of law,” and who may legally perform various law-related tasks.

They cannot act as counsel in the planning of pre-litigation strategy.

They cannot draft pleadings or court papers for third parties.

Morgan v. State Bar (1990) 51 Cal.3d 598, 603-04, 274 Cal.Rptr 8, 797 P.2d 1186 (preparing documents in dissolution of marriage)

Indeed, non-lawyers cannot even choose the forms needed for routine proceedings, or help a third-party decide how the forms should be filled out.  People v. Landlords Professional Services (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1599, 1608-09, 264 Cal.Rptr 548.

What is Unauthorized Practice of Law In Stockton California

Paralegals and Legal Document Assistants

Law Offices of Donald E Glass
$295 to $995 Flat Legal Fee Divorce Attorney
www.AttorneyPreparedDivorceForms.com
www.CaliforniaOnlineDivorceAttorney.com

(951)  326-8005

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