Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Paralegal's Perspective on the Proposed California Paraprofessional Program

One of the most important stories of the last couple of years has been the debate over instituting changes to the regulatory regimes among the states.  Washington stated abandoned its program of legal technicians while Utah and Arizona adopted significant changes allowing alternative business structures, non-lawyer services, and/or partnerships with non-lawyers.  Other states, including California and Illinois have been considering proposals that include similar plans.

In that context, it is worth taking a look at a short article submitted to the State Bar of California in support of a proposed Paraprofessional Program which would authorize paraprofessionals to provide legal advice in areas such as family, consumer debt, landlord/tenant, employment/income, and collateral criminal cases, as well as represent parties in court (excluding jury trials).  The article is called A Paralegal's Perspective on the Proposed California Paraprofessional Program and you can read it here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Virgin Islands Supreme Court rejects request to amend the rules regarding unauthorized practice of law and multijurisdictional practice

In an interesting development, the Virgin Islands Supreme Court recently denied a petition of the jurisdiction's Bar Association to have the court amend its rules on multijurisdictional and unauthorized practice.

The court, in fact, appeared annoyed that the Bar Association dared ask it to consider the proposal, saying that "we note that the Bar Association cites to no authority to support the filing of its petition to amend the Rules of this Court" and that "we emphasize that we are under no obligation whatsoever to consider, or even docket, the Bar Association’s petition."

The Bar Association's request was apparently an attempt to make it easier for lawyers from the jurisdiction and lawyers from the US mainland to interact.  But the Supreme Court rejected the proposal and referred the matter to the Advisory Committee on Rules, with the court's "sincere hope that our reasons for [denying the request to amend the rules] will . . .  further clarify what acts do and do not, constitute the unauthorized practice of law in the Virgin Islands.

Presumably, the Advisory Committee on Rules will now take on the matter and prepare a new proposal.  Stay tuned.

The Legal Profession Blog has the full story here.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Discipline for sarcastic remarks. Seriously?! Oh, wait; I could be disciplined for saying that!

The Legal Profession blog is reporting on a recent case in which the the Florida Supreme Court apparently imposed a public reprimand of an attorney because the attorney made what were deemed to be "unprofessional" and "sarcastic" remarks.  This sanctionable comments included statements saying that opposing counsel was “out of control,” and “overly hostile,” and that the upcoming depositions of two of the witnesses in a case were “going to be epic” and great “entertainment.”

If that is all there is to it, that is ridiculous!  What in the world is wrong with those statements?   Unless the jurisdiction has a very strict civility code, I fail to see why those statements, without more, deserve any type of discipline.  And if the jurisdiction has such a strict civility code according to which those statements deserve discipline, I suggest to you that the civility code is of questionable constitutional validity.   

The report makes reference to other statements which allegedly questioned the integrity of two judges, but the statements are not provided so it is difficult to evaluate the court's decision regarding those.

You can read the story (with links) here.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Tennessee adopts new rules on advertising and solicitation

 The Legal Profession blog has the story here.  You can read the amendments here.  The amendments cover Rules 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, and 7.6.