When does advice become legal advice?

Actually, you end up getting legal advice from the writers of Law And Order series, albeit third-hand.

I haven’t checked the laws, but doesn’t “practicing law without a license” imply that one is claiming to be a lawyer? (I.e., it’s essentially fraud.) I find it highly unlikely that any statute would prevent me (someone who has never claimed to be lawyer to anyone, ever) from giving legal advice to a friend–or even a stranger–no matter what that advice may be. Moreover, if that advice turns out to be someone’s legal ruin, I find it equally unlikely that I could somehow be held liable.

[OT]A doc I once worked for always wrote instructions for suppositories to include taking them out of their foil wrapper before insertion, and to hold the suppository inside until it was completely melted . I overheard his phone conversation with a patient who was complaining that they didn’t get relief from their suppository. The patient felt the urge to poop and pooped the suppository out every time. When the doc told him he had to hold it it, the patient said “but it feels like there is something in my rectum.” Doc replied “Of course it does, you just stuffed the suppository up your ass!” [/OT]

Practicing law without a license (unauthorized practice of law) is one issue. For that, you generally have to hold yourself out as a lawyer and either appear on behalf of a client or accept compensation for giving legal advice.

The bigger problem on message boards is merely that if you are a lawyer, creating an attorney/client relationship creates the possibility of malpractice.

Me, in four days. :slight_smile: Since I will be working at a law firm while preparing for the bar exam, this is of particular importance. Generally, “lawyer” and “attorney(-at-law)” refer to people who have not only passed a bar exam but are currently licensed to practice law someplace. It’s not really a term of art, th

This is pretty much what I’d say. Some of my classmates who work at law firms are adding J.D. to their e-mail signature blocks, but I’m not sure I will.

In some states, even that can get you in trouble:

In its oldest sense, a “lawyer” was somebody “learned in the law”, so any JD qualifies under that standard - but unitary bars make the rules.

I see it occasionally with people who actually are lawyers but whose current capacity isn’t practicing law - I think the concern is if they put Esquire on correspondence it will seem like they’re representing whoever it is on the letterhead, but really they’re just an employee. An attorney who works for the federal government but not as an attorney, for instance. Shows up in HR settings from time to time.

I have this case in my notes, and it concerns basically “message board” comments/advice so to speak. Your state probably has similar case law?

Palmer was NOT engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Zombie or no, that is a fascinating case and I’m surprised that Palmer got away with it.

And I am shocked, SHOCKED that this thread is almost 8 years old. When I saw it reincarnated, I would have guessed 3 years tops.

Interesting - he is basically saying “I am giving you legal advice” and the decision seems to be “nobody was fooled into thinking he was a for-real lawyer, therefore it’s not really legal advice.” I liked the bit where the complaints body obviously recognized sarcasm for what it was, “JD - not licensed to practice in the land of Oz.” does not hold someone out to be a lawyer. It’s a breath of fresh air. Rarely do authorities have common sense nowadays.