No, paralegals can't practice law, etc. give advice.?
Topic: Definition use case scenario examples
June 26, 2019 / By Whitaker Question:
but I am still curious given a number of questions I asked yesterday in this forum. Most answers were most enlightening and thoise answering seemed quite knowledgeable However.
If a paralegal offers (gives) information to people she is, say, preparing bankruptcies for (such as info from legitimate sites right here on line) and they read the material BEFORE coming back to her, and they make up their OWN minds when they come back to her that they want a Chapter7 or 13, and she gives them the proper forms to fill out, is
that activity considered
the unauthorized practice of law?
and if one of thm asked her to explain what, for example, an "exemption" is, and she 'explains' what it is but does not offer any advice as to where to insert such exemptions, is that considered the unauthorized practice of law?
the word "exemptions" - it not a legal term. It is found in any dictionary. and the word "exempt" is NOT a legal term either. Blacks Law does NOT dictate words that law has made into "legalese"
I wonder how many of you are all that familiar with the law.
Well thank you Toodema. I just read your answer this morning (quest. Posted last night) and Huum but you see you are not the only attorney here. Corag is also.(and I just read his answer this morning also)
AND I enjoy his answers because he answers just what people ask. He does NOT interject personal feelings. And you must read the questions more carefully Too…I never said that she “prepare[ed] bankruptcies on line!!! I said:
“If a paralegal offers (gives) information to people she is, say, preparing bankruptcies for (such as info from legitimate sites right here on line)…” which was perfectly clear, meaning that she may make copies of bankruptcy information that she finds on various sites right here on line. NOT that she prepares them on line !
but then you are an attorney and I can respect that. I can also respect that some of you have a habit of reading things into what people say in order to fit into certain scenarios. Yes?
And by the way Too,…you said it yourself.. “If you don’t have the law on your side, argue the facts. If you don’t have the facts on your side, just argue. Food for thought”
I ask questions here because this is a forum where people ask questions. I am more thorough I imagine, meaning I like the idea of getting to the crux of the matter so to speak. Plus I find it interesting that so many answers are at variance with others.
Still, no one has to respond. Yourself included. But thanks.
(It’s not so much that I won (putting down lawyers). It’s more that I did some research, tried, and reaped the benefits. I was ‘pro se.’ I wasn’t engaging in UPL, or encroaching on the profession of law…..I was U T I L I Z I N G my knowledge of it.)
Best Answers: No, paralegals can't practice law, etc. give advice.?
Samuel | 10 days ago
A paralegal who is not filling out forms at the direction of an attorney, and who does anything but fill in blanks without comment or advice is practicing law without a license.
The term "exemption" in and of itself is not a legal term of art. However, as it is used in bankruptcy practice it is a legal term. Since most states have their own version of bankruptcy exemptions, and in those states the petitioner can choose which to use, any direction on that subject is practicing law. If someone simply asks what the word "exemption" means and the paralegal gives a generic dictionary definition that's fine. Explaining what an exemption is in bankruptcy is another story. There is a difference. Telling someone what an exemption is probably violates the law more than pointing out where to put them on the form. One action is ministerial. One is providing legal definition and advice.
Preparing bankruptcy petitions online is not something a paralegal should do. Even choosing which program to utilize implies expertise in the subject and could be constured as legal advice. Most BK courts have local rules that require that a document preparer disclose what they charge and what what services they provided. This must be done under oath.
I dont understand why you have this pre-occupation with paralegal practice. Your discussion about winning lawsuits last night was interesting. You asked a bunch of questions, then gave glowing reports about how wonderful you are and of all the cases you won. Effectively, you asked questions you already answered. I for one couldnt figure out what your point was.
In this question, since you made distinctions that clearly demonstrate that you have SOME understanding of what is and what is not practice of law, you once again have me wondering what the point is. but that's your business I suppose.
There is an old saying in the law. If you dont have the law on your side, argue the facts. If you dont have the facts on your side, just argue. Food for thought.
As for using Black's as a legal resource, I'd stay away. It's not even a secondary or tertiary authority. Most judges know the meaning of most of the words in the book.
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We found more questions related to the topic: Definition use case scenario examples
A paralegal can help fill out forms or provide legal information -- but the paralegal cannot pick which forms to use, and cannot say how the law would or should apply in any given situation.
That's the line that most states draw -- though it varies by state -- the paralegal can provide information, but cannot tell the person what they SHOULD do, and cannot apply the law to the facts to give an opinion on what could happen.
In your example -- defining what an exemption is, or listing the exemptions allowed by law -- that's usually fine. Telling you whether a particular exemption does or does not apply in your particular case -- that's legal advice -- and it's also the unauthorized practice of law (jn most states).
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I think you have it mixed up: if a paralegal is doing research, drafting documents, writing reports and making recommendations -- all in a law firm and for an attorney -- then they're not practicing law, they are assisting attorneys in the practice of law. But no, they are not exempt from UPL rules, ever.
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Providing the papers to fill out is not practicing law; it is just someone who knows which papers to fill out. Explaining what an exemption is is something that can come right from a dictionary, so I don't believe that's practicing law either.
If you think it is bad information or not a reliable source, go hire an attorney.
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The first instance where the paralegal provided materials and allowed the client to make their own decision, that is not practicing law.
The second instance where the paralegal explains a legal term, that IS the practice of law.
The difference lies in "finding and supplying" information which is not practicing law; or "interpreting or defining" information which is.
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Litigation is they key factor here. I can simply provide you with forms for filing, laws to cite, I can help you figure out and fill those forms. I cannot legally represent you in a court of law or court action.
I can give you my opinion, as long as it is clear that I am not a lawyer and I am not receiving a fee for this opinion.
I can help you fill out a form (without advice...just explanation) for a fee, but you must ultimately sign the form and make it your own...thus absolving me, unless my services were contracted by payment.
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You've apparently satisfied yourself that a paralegal is perfectly qualified to practice law, and that it should be okay for her to do so. Why is it so important to you that others agree? If you're happy with your conclusion then go with it, but the rest of the world isn't going to bend to fit what you wish so very fervently to be true.
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Originally Answered: Grade my practice SAT essay.From 2-12. No corrections have been made with spell check.Any advice?
What is the prompt exactly? To be honest, I don't like that essay very much. You should be elaborating more on each paragraph. The general rule of thumb is that your topic paragraph and conclusion paragraph should be at least 6 lines long each and your body paragraphs should be at least 8 lines long each.
Your first sentence should address the question directly. Then elaborate on your position. The last sentence of the intro should be your thesis.
Your body paragraphs should be giving examples from literature, history, and your experience. Then you analyze these subjects to help you prove your point.
Remember that the prompts are always ambiguous, and any piece of literature, history, and experience will help you voice your opinion. For example, every essay I wrote had something to do with the Lord of the Flies, and Industrial Revolution, and my experience in tennis.
I would probably give that a 3/6.