Unauthorized Practice of Law NC

March 15, 2013
David Johnson, Deputy Counsel
The North Carolina State Bar
Unauthorized Practice in North Carolina is
mainly defined by statute
◦ G.S. 84-2.1
◦ Broad definition
 providing any legal service or advice
◦ Specifically includes
 Preparation of contracts, deeds, wills, trusts, and court
pleadings for others
 Appearances before courts and tribunals on behalf of
G.S. 84-4 prohibits individuals who are not
licensed from engaging in the practice of law
◦ Cannot advertise as an attorney
G.S. 84-5 prohibits business entities other
than law firms from engaging in the practice
of law
◦ A business entity may not provide legal services to
its customers even if the services are performed by
an attorney
UPL can consist of either of two types of
◦ Actual provision of legal services
◦ Holding out to the public as an attorney or as able
to provide legal services
Cannot avoid UPL simply by saying you are
not an attorney or are not practicing law
◦ Disclaimers are meaningless if the activity is
substantively the practice of law
Attorneys licensed to practice in other states
generally may not practice in North Carolina
◦ Statute (84-4)
◦ Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5.5(a) &
 (a) A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction
where doing so violates the regulation of the legal
profession in that jurisdiction.
 (b) A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this
jurisdiction shall not:
 (1) except as authorized by these Rules or other law,
establish an office or other systematic and continuous
presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law;
Under statute
◦ Pro hac vice
 State pro hac vice governed by N.C. Gen. Stat. 84-4.1
 Federal pro hac vice governed by local rules
Rule 5.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct
◦ Broader pro hac vice provision
 May do preliminary work before admission
◦ In-house corporate or government lawyer
◦ Matters strictly related to federal law
 May cover federal criminal practice
Posing as a lawyer may serve as a basis for
federal fraud charges
Former federal inmate solicits federal
prisoners for post-conviction legal work
Distributes a business card in federal prisons
Claims he is lawyer with a law degree from
◦ In response to inquiry, provides us with a transcript
 “Cambridge” turned out to be “Cambridge State
Cambridge State University was an online
diploma mill
Evicted from Hawaii
Moved to Jackson, Mississippi
Actually filed a complaint on behalf of a
prisoner in Ohio
Summarily dismissed
Connor alleges that he paid Duncan $16,400
Information that Duncan has offered his
services to other prisoners
Immigration Consultants
◦ Obtained an injunction against an immigration
consultant in Charlotte
◦ Violated the injunction
◦ Submitted work authorization applications for a
roofer in West Jefferson
◦ Has now pled guilty to federal charges in the
Western District
Fake law Firms
◦ Use photos of real lawyers with stock photos
◦ Change information and sometimes names
Fake law firm website used to deceive
◦ Perpetrator presented check that appeared drawn
on law firm account to a check cashing service
◦ Service looked at the website
◦ Convinced that the check was legitimate and cashed
◦ Check was fraudulent
Loan modification and foreclosure defense
◦ Business located in Washington
◦ Held itself out as able to prevent foreclosures
◦ Had a “paralegal” send a notice to the trustee
demanding that the foreclosure proceeding stop
◦ Identified a lawyer as supervising her
◦ Notices came from a “Postal Annex” store in San
◦ “Paralegal” lived in Florida
◦ Recently a Durham man held himself out as a “legal
 Took $2,500 from a woman to obtain a “verbal”
restraining order
 Took $760 from an older man confined to a wheelchair
to “negotiate” a med-mal claim with Duke Medical
 Told the man he had “settled” his claim for $750,000
 Prepared a “settlement agreement”
Plaintiff shall prepare a “Agreement of
Silence” of the Action and lodge it with the
Numerous problems with “sovereign citizens,”
including the “Indigenous Moors” who call
themselves “attorneys in law”
Recently enjoined a woman from Charlotte
who “helps” others with defending foreclosure
Claims she is a separate “body politic,” not a
citizen of the state
I AM an Article III, Preamble Citizen within the
meaning of the Organic Constitution…You
have no authority regarding this separate
Body Politic
Furthermore, you are guilty of copyright
infringement and are hereby invoiced
$795,000,000,000 ($795 billion) United
States silver dollars due and payable in full
not later than December 31, 2009.
One man appeared before Judge Trawick in
Wake County to represent a neighbor on a
foreclosure appeal
Told Judge Trawick that he was licensed on
another planet
Judge Trawick told him that we don’t
recognize licenses from foreign jursidictions
Jay Vincent, absent any individual capacity, but
as Trustee and attorney-in-fact for the vacant
office of Honorable Clerk of Superior Court for
Davidson County, North Carolina
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