Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law
Christine Lockhart Poarch, chair
The Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law is charged with two duties: investigating complaints alleging that individuals or business entities are engaged in the unauthorized practice of law; and issuing opinions as to whether specific conduct constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.
This fiscal year, forty-seven new UPL investigations were opened and of these new complaints, twenty-six have been closed with six resulting in a signed letter agreement. Of these new complaints, none have been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for civil prosecution or to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and one has been referred to commonwealth’s attorneys for criminal prosecution.
A total of twenty-eight investigations were carried over from prior fiscal years. Of these, twenty-six were closed with ten resulting in a signed letter agreement. There were four referrals to the Office of the Attorney General and one was referred to a commonwealth attorney for prosecution.
During this year, assistant ethics counsel also reviewed and answered twenty-three complaints in which counsel determined that, based on the information provided, there was no unauthorized practice of law in Virginia warranting a formal investigation by the committee.
The committee received one new opinion request in Fiscal Year 2013.
I would like to thank the committee members — Vice Chair Sharon Marcella Bolling Pigeon, Robert R. Bock, Adam D. Elfenbein, William J. Viverette, Nancy Rodrigues, Elliott P. Park, Susan M. Butler, and Guy C. Crowgey for their hard work and dedication to the mission of the committee during the past year.