Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law

Comments on Draft Definition

December 16, 2002

Lish Whitson, Esq., Chair
Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law
C/o Arthur H. Garwin, Esq.
American Bar Association
541 N. Fairbanks Court, 14th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601

Dear Mr. Whitson:

I applaud the work of the Task Force thus far on developing a model definition of the practice of law. Enumerating activities that are presumptively within and outside the scope of the practice of law is very helpful.

I have several concerns about the definition of the “practice of law” in Section (b)(1). The greatest concern is that defining the “practice of law” only as an activity that requires training in the law seems somewhat circular and not particularly illuminating. As I am sure the members of the Task Force recognize, a definition like this is unsustainable without the accompanying presumptions. The current definition is also overbroad in a way that is probably unintended, since its definition of the “practice of law” would seem to embrace the work of both legal commentators and legal scholars. Although it is desirable, from the standpoint of public education, for such persons to be trained in the law, such a requirement is unnecessary in terms of protecting consumers of legal services. I suggest that the “practice of law” definition encompass the notion that the “practice of law” is done for the benefit of others (whether or not for compensation).

I look forward with interest to following the work of the Task Force.


Deborah Coleman.