May 06, 2008
Virginia Supreme Court To Review Unauthorized Practice Of Law Opinion 214
UPL Opinion 214
This opinion generally addresses whether it is the unauthorized practice of law for a non-lawyer Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”) to represent a claimant in an arbitration proceeding before the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”) against the Claimant’s former brokerage firm and former stock broker. The CPA is not a licensed attorney in any jurisdiction and is not, and never has been an employee of the claimant.
In this proposed opinion, the UPL Committee concluded that the CPA is not a licensed attorney in any jurisdiction, nor is or has he ever been an employee of the Claimant. He is independently offering to provide to customers from the public, services related to arbitration, including representation, and charging a fee for those services and representation. Among the services he is providing are counseling the client regarding potential legal claims against the brokerage company, drafting a statement of claim, drafting discovery requests and then representation at the hearing where he will introduce exhibits, conduct examination of witnesses, including expert witnesses, objecting to exhibits and making legal argument. Based on the Definition of the Practice of Law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Part 6, §I of the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court and the decisions of the UPL Committee in UPL Opinions 92, 200, and 206, the conduct of this CPA is the unauthorized practice of law.
Inspection and Comment
Any individual, business or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of, or in opposition to, the opinion by filing nine copies with the Clerk of the Court and three copies with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than August 21, 2008.
Updated: Jul 23, 2008