News and Information
November 28, 2007

Public Comment Pending on UPL Opinion 214

Additional Info view draft of UPL Opinion 214 (pdf)

VSB Standing Committee On Unauthorized Practice Of Law Seeking Public Comment On Proposed UPL Opinion 214

Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10(c)(iii) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law (“ UPL Committee???) is seeking public comment on proposed Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 214, Non-Lawyer Representation, for Compensation, of a Party to Arbitration.

This proposed 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.

n this proposed opinion, the UPL Committee concluded that the CPA is not a licensed attorney in any jurisdiction nor is he nor 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 Committee in UPL Opinions 92, 200 and 206, the conduct of this CPA is the unauthorized practice of law.

Inspection and Comment

The proposed opinion may be inspected at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies of the proposed opinion can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557, or can be found at the Virginia State Bar’s Web site at

Any individual, business or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed opinion by filing ten copies with Thomas A. Edmonds, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than February 29, 2008.

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Updated: Nov 28, 2007