Suppose you advise someone to hire attorney because it is your opinion that certain facts exist and that they are "illegal". Further, suppose you are not an attorney and the process of advising this person has nothing to do with you representing yourself. You are just giving friendly advice to hire a lawyer because you think X is illegal and what they're doing is X.

Is that an unlawful practice of law?

  • 1
    Food for thought: I'm not a lawyer, but if I'm telling someone on this site to go get a lawyer from a question about copyright infringement (I can see the infringement in the question), am I engaged in an unlawful practice of law? Also, the question as you have it appear seems to be like a casual conversation between two people - Why do non-lawyers refer you to lawyers even when they know the answer? is of interest.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 19:26

2 Answers 2


This is a matter regulated at the state level (with a generic guide here), so I'll pick a random state, Washington. RCW.2.48.180(2) says that

The following constitutes unlawful practice of law:

(a) A nonlawyer practices law, or holds himself or herself out as entitled to practice law;

(irrelevant clauses pertaining to the business of running a law firm suppressed). In telling you this, I am giving you legal information, not advice. I also have the opinion that the laws of Washington do not forbid me from saying "I don't think you will get in trouble for saying what you think the law says". If I were to say "Based on my years of experience in contract litigation, I would say that you would be legally safe if you did X", then I would probably get in trouble. Obviously, appearing in court as someone's attorney is a violation, as is opening a business that claims to be a "law firm" or "legal office".

There are also court rules, and in Washington rule GR 24(d) says "Nothing in this rule shall affect the ability of a person or entity to provide information of a general nature about the law and legal procedures to members of the public"


It could be if you hired a non-lawyer to provide you with the advice.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .