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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