Say a lawyer is licensed to practice law in State A, and gives legal advice to a family member in state B which they are unlicensed.
How could that lawyer violate state bar ethics? Where are the pitfalls?
Law Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for legal professionals, students, and others with experience or interest in law. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Giving advice on business or personal matters isn't legal advice. In this specific example it sounds like they have counsel in state already, the relative is not representing them as their attorney.
Giving legal advice often isn't unlicensed practice of law. It could be though. If the lawyer was representing a client in court, taking them on as a client, accepting money for legal services, or preparing a motion it would be a problem.
Many states offer reciprocity to lawyers licensed in some other states, or are part of the uniform bar exam. And if they are only covering federal law, like immigration it is typically not an issue. There is an exception for in house counsel, as the business is not harmed when an attorney practices outside of where they are licensed because they do so for the benefit of their employer, and they understand the risks. So it is possible to practice law legally in a state you were not originally licensed in some cases.
MJP or UPL violations can be misdemeanors in the worst case. Unless a client was financially harmed, or there were other serious ethical breaches like a sexual relationship with a client, it is very rare for the bar to get involved. Another pitfall is that malpractice insurance may not cover practicing outside of the original jurisdiction. So if there was alleged malpractice defending it could be expensive, even if they ultimately prevail.