VIRGINIA UPL OPINION 145


Non-lawyer Employees of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry Advising and Filing Warrants in Debt on Behalf of Employees/Wage Claimants.

It is not the unauthorized practice of law for the labor law representative of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry to provide the Commissioner with information as to the advisability of instituting proceedings to enforce compliance with the appropriate Code section regarding unpaid wage claims. It similarly is not the unauthorized practice of law for the representative to appear and seek and obtain judgment on behalf of the Commissioner and the employee wage claimant, as statutorily permitted under Va. Code Section 40.1-29(F), provided that the representatives in-court role was limited to obtaining the warrant and presenting facts, figures, and factual conclusions to the court, i.e., those tasks which are purely ministerial in nature. The representative is precluded from offering or responding to motions, including those related to venue or Bills of Particular; making legal arguments; or cross-examining witnesses. Any such courtroom activities on behalf of the employee/wage claimant must be carried out either by the employee pro se or by counsel licensed or otherwise authorized to practice law in Virginia. The representative’s testimony will be limited to facts which he has discovered during his investigation, and he may answer any questions posed by the Court. [UPR 1-101(A); UPC 1-2]

Committee Opinion
April 19, 1991

Updated: Aug 28, 2006