Unauthorized Practice Of Law

There are probably some of you who lie awake at night wondering whether Leagalzoom’s offering of do it yourself lawyering products will be found to be the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) in North Carolina.

For those few of you, that uncertainty will continue.  At the end of last week, Judge Gale issued an opinion

Burgess v. Vitola, 2008 NCBC 7 (N.C. Super. Ct. March 26, 2006)(Diaz)

Bueche v. Noel, March 25, 2008 (Diaz)(unpublished)

The Business Court decided two cases this week involving what it found to be the unauthorized practice of law.  In the first, Bueche v. Noel, the Court held that a pro se defendant could not file an Answer on behalf of a corporation, because "a corporation must be represented by counsel and cannot appear pro se."  The Court struck the Answer filed by the defendant.

In the second case, Burgess v. Vitola, the issue was whether an out-of-state attorney who had apparently ghost written an Answer for a defendant had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

The defendant involved was Dr. Entezam, a California dentist sued by the plaintiff for allegedly trespassing on his computer through an unwanted advertisement.  (Whether those advertisements subjected the defendants to jurisdiction in North Carolina was the subject of an earlier post).  Dr. Entezam filed an Answer under her own pro se signature which had clearly been drafted by a lawyer.   


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