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Chapter 2. The Unauthorized Practice of Law. What Is Legal Advice?. If a paralegal applies knowledge of the law to the facts of a case and renders an opinion, it is legal advice. Recommending a course of conduct Evaluating a case Predicting a case’s outcome. Suggesting a course of action

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Presentation Transcript
Chapter 2

Chapter 2

The Unauthorized Practice of Law


What is legal advice
What Is Legal Advice?

If a paralegal applies knowledge of the law to the facts of a case and renders an opinion, it is legal advice.

  • Recommending a course of conduct

  • Evaluating a case

  • Predicting a case’s outcome

  • Suggesting a course

  • of action

  • Explaining rights or

  • obligations

  • Interpreting statutes

  • or legal documents.


Actions that are not upl
Actions That Are Not UPL

  • Giving instructions and legal information needed to handle their own cases

  • Providing appropriate court forms for customer’s use

  • Preparing forms at the direction of the customer

  • Filing court papers

  • Having forms served as directed by the customer.

    *People vs. Landlords Professional Services, 215 C.A.3d 1599


What statements are upl
What Statements Are UPL?

  • “A plaintiff is a person who starts a lawsuit. A defendant is a person who is sued.”

  • “If the attorney decides to proceed with your case, you would be the plaintiff.”

  • “A complaint is the document that sets forth the harm done to the plaintiff and a request for help from the court.”


Upl statements continued
UPL Statements (continued)

  • “From what you have told us so far, it sounds like your complaint will be based on a claim of negligence.”

  • “You must remember that I am only a paralegal, and that I cannot give you a legal opinion, but in my personal opinion, I think you have a very good case.”


Upl statements continued1
UPL Statements (continued)

  • “I will be taking notes about your case. The attorney will review my notes and get back to you. In the meantime, please sign this retainer agreement that describes our fees.”

  • “Were you fearful when he raised his fist against you? This is an important question because it will support an assault and battery cause of action.”


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