62

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 ...


47

Another possible answer: The legal profession is a cartel, protected by laws. "Unlicensed/Unauthorized Practice of Law" is a big enough issue that its acronym (UPL) is well known among people who discuss law. Non-lawyers may decline to provide legal advice because they don't want to be charged with UPL. Likewise, as a matter of policy (at least in the U.S....


38

In most jurisdictions, practicing law without a bar license is a serious offence, which, inter alia, is the primary reason why a non-lawyer would use this disclaimer. Lawyers also use this disclaimer to avoid any 'constructive implication' of attorney-client relationship.


27

This is not legal advice. If I say "this is not legal advice", and you rely on what I say, and try to sue me if everything goes pear shaped, then a judge will laugh you out of court. If I don't say "this is not legal advice", there is a 99% chance that the judge will laugh you out of court. I'll cover the one percent.


15

What you are talking about here is the tort of negligent misstatement, a subset of the tort of negligence. First, there is no presumption in any jurisdiction that I am aware of that anyone is or is not a lawyer (or doctor, or engineer etc.). If people knew that you were, however, then it is reasonable that they would give your statements more weight then if ...


14

I'm a high school student. I've written around 43 answers so far, but there's a couple reasons I wouldn't want to answer the question... The situation is too specific There's too many details to consider, and lots of precedence that may change my thought Different jurisdictions Canadian law (which I know lots about), can be very different from Dutch, or ...


13

There's a few reasons, and I'm not sure that they've been covered thoroughly. Also, note that this relates to common law and an understanding of Western societies, rather than civil law systems. We live in an incredibly litigious society Making it clear that you should ask a lawyer, in the minds of those saying it, dispels the notion that you might infer a ...


10

The law is way more complicated than the layman fully comprehends. You didn't specify which country, but in the U.S. the legal system is full of precedents: previous case decisions from which a lawyer can argue your case or against your case. A non-lawyer will not know all the loopholes that may be important to your case, and they may not understand the ...


8

If you're talking with a friend, a disclaimer like this should not be necessary, as they know you're not a lawyer, and you're just expressing lay opinion, personal anecdotes, etc. But if you're in a context where the audience doesn't know who you are, there's a possibility that they might assume you're qualified to dispense legal advice. For instance, this ...


7

Most advice that a lawyer gives is subjective; facts are objective but opinions are always subjective. What a lawyer does when they advise a client is typically called a "legal opinion". The reason it is subjective is that, as Dale M said, there are numerous variants that go into an opinion, and reasonably trained professionals (attorneys) can disagree as to ...


5

Yes, in general US prosecutors are licensed attorneys if they're practicing law. You don't necessarily technically need a license if your job is purely administrative, but to appear in court you do. They are subject to professional ethics requirements, and can be disbarred for violating them. There may be a state or two where they aren't licensed, but the ...


5

If someone who is not a lawyer is giving out legal advice, does it make any difference if they include a disclaimer along the lines of "this is not legal advice"? The purpose of this disclaimer is to prevent someone from unreasonably relying on the advice while thinking that they are reasonably relying on legal advice. If the person who gave you some advice ...


5

There is a world of legal difference between a doctor or counselor "pressing" you to consider meds and even suggesting several and them actually writing a prescription. The line to cross is a non-doctor writing you a prescription for prescription meds; this has not yet happened. And 99.99% of the time, it won't happen. The counselor is licensed by the state ...


4

Not in jurisdictions I am familiar with. A "Power of attorney" is a power to act as an attorney-in-fact, not to act as an attorney-at-law. A layperson practicing law for someone other than herself is usually the unauthorized practice of law and is illegal in most jurisdictions. It would be permissible if a jurisdiction carved out an exception for a ...


4

In California, UPL has a flexible definition and is analyzed situationally, as is the formation of an attorney-client relationship. The shorthand definition for UPL is usually given as something like "doing what lawyers do." When your "help" goes beyond "studying law" and begins to deal with applying that law to a particular legal matter, you're definitely ...


4

It's a gray area. You won't know for certain until a case is tried by a court. Regulatory bodies are notoriously assertive on the matter of jurisdiction. If there is a gray area, they often assert jurisdiction first, then let the judiciary limit their authority. Also, if you try to ask the regulatory body for an opinion or "permission" in advance (as a ...


4

I think lawyers generally shy away from making value judgments on behalf of their clients because: attorney-client privilege is unilateral (i.e., only the client can assert it, not the attorney) and if a client really gets into trouble, he can always say "My lawyer told me to do it." (Taken out of context, of course.) Attorneys want to avoid this because: ...


4

A summary is here: see for example Section 35 of the Judiciary Act of 1789: 'in all the courts of the United States, the parties may plead and manage their own causes personally or by the assistance of counsel'. In the same vein, Adams v. United States ex rel. McCann, 317 U. S. 269 held that "an accused, in the exercise of a free and intelligent choice and ...


4

A non-lawyer might have a lot of information and knowledge about the law. For that matter, if they've merely allowed their professional qualifications to lapse, they might conceivably be just as well-informed and skilled as they were when they were a lawyer. So, a non-lawyer can make lots of true statements about the law. However, "giving you legal advice" ...


4

For most civil matters the answer is "no". Small claims court is special since there are restrictions on using attorneys, and in that context, it depends on the rules. In Indiana, the answer in their manual is no Small Claims Rule 8 allows a person to appear at trial and, if he or she chooses, represent himself or herself and avoid the cost of hiring ...


3

Your question is a little bit backwards. It's not that there is a ruling to grant people a "right" to "practice law" on their own behalf; rather, there is an absence of a ruling denying them the right to speak for themselves in court. Courts and similar legal hearings existed before there was a legal profession; in the beginning, one pleaded one's own case ...


3

Of course, lawyers and non-lawyers can both make mistakes. But there are some other reasons why you might prefer to ask your question of a lawyer (who you have hired to advise you) instead of a non-lawyer. (Some of them may or may not apply in various jurisdictions.) Suppose you pose your question to me, a non-lawyer. I might intentionally give you an ...


3

Why would I ever find it beneficial to go get a lawyer when asking a question if I suspect that some non-lawyer might be able to answer it as well? Because, when you do so, you may find that your suspicion is ill-founded and that your lawyer has, in fact, given you a higher-quality answer than you would expect to get from your friends and co-workers. "...


3

The issue you describe is usually characterized as the multijurisdictional practice of law and is not terribly straightforward, in part, because the "practice of law" is not a well defined or consistently defined term. For example, in New York, preparation of a title opinion is considered to be the practice of law, while in Colorado, it is not and title ...


3

Short Answer They will probably not hire you unless they have legal work that they need done in Bangladesh or the U.K. from a U.S. office. Long Answer Admission To The Practice Of Law In The U.S. A Bachelor of Law, Masters in Law and the Bar (BPTC) from the UK is not a satisfactory credential for employment as a lawyer in the United States. To be ...


2

You have suggested an arbitrary jurisdiction, but jurisdiction determines the answer to this question. As formulated, your question depends on the interpretation of the phrase practice law in California in section 6125, as applied by the regulators and courts of California. Since you said that you are interested in case law in a comment on another answer, ...


2

In Australia this is not the case. Specifically, "the bar" refers to barristers who act either for the prosecution/plaintiff or the defendant. However, particularly in lower courts, people may be represented by solicitors who are not barristers. In addition, minor crimes are often prosecuted by Police Prosecutors who are serving police officers and may have ...


2

In the so-called common-law countries (or common law adversarial system, or common law jurisdictions) are prosecutors members of the (state) bar? If so, is that a requirement? If so, does that mean that they are somehow under the bar's disciplinary jurisdiction? The Practice of Law is Mostly State Regulated Almost all prosecutors are (and must ...


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