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[SPOILERS for Suits]

In season five of the TV series Suits, Mike Ross, who has practised law for a few years without a degree and passing the Bar himself, is tried for fraud. The jury's verdict is revealed to be not guilty.

Does this mean that Mike could continue to practise law without a licence and never face fraud charges again, or could a new fact pattern emerge if he continued to practise without a licence post-acquittal, opening himself up to prosecution again?

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  • 3
    There's a movie, "Double Jeopardy", that gets this dead wrong. The summary from IMDB: "A woman framed for her husband's murder suspects he is still alive; as she has already been tried for the crime, she can't be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him." She can be prosecuted, because killing him after the trial is a different crime than the one she was charged with.
    – PJB
    Nov 22 '21 at 15:45
  • @PJB: That seems like a very... ill-conceived plan on her part.
    – V2Blast
    Nov 22 '21 at 16:40
  • @V2Blast -- it was also an ill-conceived movie. <g>
    – PJB
    Nov 22 '21 at 17:22
  • So does the character in question not have the law degree or the law license. These are two very different documents. Can you link to a synopsis of the episode(s) this occurred in?
    – hszmv
    Nov 22 '21 at 17:44
  • @hszmv He had neither a law degree nor law licence. I couldn't get a synopsis exactly, but here's an episode recap: google.com/amp/s/hungrynovelist.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/…
    – Tolga
    Nov 23 '21 at 0:00
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No

The charge would more likely be "Unlicensed practice of law" (UPL), possibly in addition to a charge of fraud. Each time that Rose engages in UPL would be a separate offense, and could lead to a fresh trial.

This is no more covered by double jeopardy than a serial killer gets a free pass on future killings because s/he was acquitted of one particular murder.

The exact definition of UPL varies by state, but making a living as a lawyer without a license is UPL in every US state, I think.

For a work of fiction in which UPL is central, see The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.

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  • Pretty much answers my question. I thought this was the case. Thank you.
    – Tolga
    Nov 21 '21 at 20:18
  • "living as a lawyer without a license is UPL in every US state, I think." No need to "I think" about it, although there is some leniency given to jailhouse lawyers who are incarcerated and help fellow inmates without charge.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 22 '21 at 19:32
  • I did say "make a living": whoich rather implies chrgign fees on a regular basis. Nov 22 '21 at 21:29

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