I live in Montgomery County Maryland. I am not a lawyer.

But I have significant legal experience. I have successfully sued people, watched many trials, I have successfully won dozens of trials for my own traffic violations. And I'm a former state legislator. So I have read and argued about lots of legislation. Sometimes I feel like an amateur lawyer myself. And a pretty darn good one at that.

My father recently received a ticket from an automated-traffic-enforcement system because he made a right turn without coming to a full stop. The fine is $75. But he doesn't want to pay it and I don't want him to pay it. It's more the principle of the matter than the fine amount.

Because of my extensive experience litigating traffic trials, I want to represent my father in his trial. But as I mentioned above, I am not a licensed attorney. Can I represent him nonetheless? When the judge goes through the docket and calls his case, can I stand up and say, "Your Honor, I'm here representing Mr. Ali in this case?" Or will I get in trouble for doing so?

This case is in the District Court of Maryland in Montgomery County.

  • 2
    Some English law jurisdictions allow "friends": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McKenzie_friend
    – pjc50
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 15:19
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 18:37
  • 5
    A good amatuer attorney with "extensive legal experience" would be able to look this up. Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 19:47
  • You'd know the answer to this if you watched Suits :) Commented Jun 8 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


If you are not a member of the Bar of Maryland, you may not "practice, attempt to practice, or offer to practice law in the State unless admitted to the Bar." Maryland Business Occupations and Professions § 10-601.

"Practicing law" includes "representing another person before a unit of the State government or of a political subdivision." Maryland Business Occupations and Professions § 10-101.

"[A] person who violates § 10-601 of this subtitle is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or both." Maryland Business Occupations and Professions § 10-606.

EDIT: Because it's coming up in the comments I'll add that the option of a "McKenzie friend" is unavailable in Maryland and in the United States generally. There are some jurisdictions (404. Archive. ) experimenting with limited representation by non-lawyers, but I don't know of any such moves in Maryland.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Dale M
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 3:07
  • 1
    What is proposed in the question isn't remotely like a McKenzie friend. You probably could be a McKenzie friend in Maryland despite the lack of formal statutes or rules or cases authorizing it. But a McKenzie friend is basically an emotional support person and secretary, not a litigator on someone else's behalf. It isn't limited practice of law like states including Colorado are now authorizing.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 0:29

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