I would like to request a copy of my contract from a previous employer, where most of the staff is juridically uneducated people. I'm afraid that if I introduce myself, HR would realize that I am a former employee and would decline to send the copy, stating that I should have my own version (which I have lost).

There might be a legal debate, depending whether I signed a certain page where it says "overtime hours are not paid" or not. I know I can hire a lawyer who can demand the contract copy, but then if I really signed the page (it was a long time ago, I don't remember), the job of the lawyer is done and I still pay for their service.

To save money I have considered this trick:

  1. Register a new email address with something like [email protected]

  2. Call the HR office and impersonate an abstract lawyer who is defending an interest of the former employee.

  3. Request a copy of the contract be sent to the aforementioned email address.

Is any part of this plan illegal?

  • 1
    What do you mean by an "abstract" lawyer? Do you mean that you would claim to be a lawyer, but not one admitted to the Bar in any specific location? Do you mean that you would claim to be a lawyer, but not engage in any activities constituting the practice of Law? Commented May 23, 2018 at 15:59
  • 1
    I do not understand why you don't just ask for a copy as yourself. In the worst case you are exactly in the same situation as you are now.
    – SJuan76
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 16:44
  • @SJuan76 Well, I left the company in such a poor feeling and misunderstanding with the owner, that I believe they can tamper the actual contract to say something "he agreed to work overtime for free" and send me that copy Commented May 23, 2018 at 16:47
  • 4
    Besides being illegal, as in the answer below, I don't see how it will help. I expect they would simply say "Your client has a copy, why don't you ask him for it?" And then you're back where you started. Commented May 23, 2018 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


According to Florida law 454.23:

Any person not licensed or otherwise authorized to practice law in this state who practices law in this state or holds himself or herself out to the public as qualified to practice law in this state, or who willfully pretends to be, or willfully takes or uses any name, title, addition, or description implying that he or she is qualified, or recognized by law as qualified, to practice law in this state, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

What you propose therefore seems to be a felony. And according to a 2015 survey from the American Bar Association, Florida had the highest budget in the nation for prosecuting unauthorized practice of law - $1.8 million. So this seems like a very bad idea.


Do not falsely portray yourself as attorney. The good news is that you don't even need to hire an attorney for the document you seek.

Florida legislature does not appear to have a statute such as Michigan's MCL 423.504 (entitling the employee to a copy of his or her personnel records). However, I suggest you to consider Florida statute 435.10, as it compels employers to furnish copies of personnel records for employees or former employees to any other employer requesting this information pursuant to this section.

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