News and Information
February 25, 2021

VSB Ethics Committee Seeks Comments on UPL Opinion

Additional Info UPL Opinion 218

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 218. Comments are due by March 31, 2021.

This opinion addresses whether to reconsider UPL Opinion 194 in light of the Virginia legislature’s enactment of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) in 2010.

Specifically, whether, pursuant to the UPOAA, a power of attorney would allow a non-lawyer agent/attorney-in-fact to prepare, sign and file pleadings with a court on behalf of the principal and then appear and represent the interests of the principal before the court, without engaging in unauthorized practice of law. In proposed UPL Opinion 218 the Committee concludes that the UPOAA does not change the analysis and conclusions of UPL Opinion 194 and the UPOAA does not create a “carve out,” explicit nor implicit, to allow nonlawyers to practice law under a private POA given by one person to another.

Inspection and Comment

The proposed opinion may be inspected here, or by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than March 31, 2021. Comments may be submitted via email to

Updated: Feb 25, 2021