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Dear Editor:
Very little has been said about the problem of the unauthorized practice of law in the immigration context. Even before 9/11, the practice was widespread and had obvious and severe negative repercussions on the unknowing alien. Most people think unauthorized practitioners take business away from true lawyers. What many do not realize is that unauthorized practitioners refer cases to true lawyers, with the true lawyers making court appearances with the alien, and with the true lawyers knowing full well that they are aiding and abetting the unauthorized practice of law. A case has recently come down from the Review Department of the State Bar Court of California. "In re Valinoti" (2002 WL 31907316 (Cal.Bar Ct.), 2003 Daily Journal D.A.R. 167), which discusses this practice at length and the negative repercussions this had on the multitude aliens who believed they had an attorney they could rely on. I hope you pass this information on so that your readers might be able to tell the difference between diligent attorneys and charlatans, and to put on notice those who associate with non-attorneys that they put themselves, their clients, and their bar license at risk.

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