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Re: Commercial Development

On Tue, 19 Feb 2002, Joe Buck wrote:

> I wrote:
> > > It is frequently claimed that it is illegal for non-lawyers to give legal
> > > advice in the US.  This is false.
> Daniel writes:
> > Actually, it's not false at all.
> > It's illegal individually in all states.
> > For instance, in texas, you have the "Unauthorized practices of law 
> > committee", created by the texas legislature, and overseen by the texas 
> > supreme court.
> There is a distinction between "unauthorized practice of law" and "giving
> legal advice".

Not in most cases.

The UPL has said giving legal advice by non-lawyers is an unauthorized 
practice of law, unless they state it's not legal advice.

Specifically, "practice of law" includes "the giving of advice or the 
rendering of any service requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, 
such as preparing a will, contract, or other instrument, the legal effect 
of which under the facts and conclusions involved must be carefully 
determined".  Tex. Gov't Code Ann, Sec 81.101(a) (1998)

However, in some states it does hinge on whether it's provided free or 

In texas, it was actually technically illegal for a bit of time to sell 
will making software (see parsons v. UPL).

This was changed by HB 1507, saying it's okay as long as they clearly 
state they are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

> > In addition, their is a federal law that makes it illegal for a non-lawyer 
> > to give legal advice across state lines.
> All such laws are superseded by the First Amendment if they overreach and
> attempt to block speech.

You must be confused about exactly what is protected speech and not.


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