chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
April 13, 2020

Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law

Comments on Draft Definition

Comment Submitted via Email


(a) "Practice of law" defined ? The "practice of law" means doing any act for another entity or person(s) that requires the application of legal principles through the judgment and knowledge of an attorney trained in the law. This includes but is not limited to:

1) Acting or appearing as the attorney or representative of another entity or person(s) before any court, tribunal, administrative proceeding, or other body authorized by law to exercise any judicial power.

2) Giving legal advice or legal counseling, either directly or indirectly, to another entity or person(s) which pertains to a question of law for a fee.

3) Preparing, drafting, or selecting pleadings or other legal documents which effect the legal rights of another entity or person(s).

4) Commencing, negotiating, or disposing of any civil or criminal cause of action for another entity or person(s).

5) Counsel nonlawyers who wish to proceed pro se.

(b) Unauthorized practices by attorneys ? A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction where he or she is not licensed to do so or assist a nonlawyer in performing activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

(c) Exceptions to the definition ? The following practices are permitted whether or not the acts in question qualify as the practice of law:

1) Practicing law with a license that authorizes a limited role of the practice of law such as: legal interns; pro hac vice; foreign legal consultants; and admission on foreign license.

2) Court staff and social workers, when authorized by the court in which they are employed or by the Supreme Court, to assist pro se litigants.

3) Clerks and recorders drafting legal instruments necessary to accomplish their duties.

4) Tasks performed by a trustee, guardian, executor, administrator, or other fiduciary necessary to accomplish their duties.

5) A person serving as a mediator, arbitrator, or facilitator where no preferential treatment is given to either party.

6) Ordinary business agreements completed by a person for their own business or their employer's business.

7) A person advising another entity or person(s) about their tax situation or a person preparing any federal, state, or local income tax return for that other entity or person(s).

Anthony Zapata