Paralegals Page

Paralegal Ethics: Avoiding the Unauthorized Practice of Law

, The Legal Intelligencer


They are out there. Perhaps you have encountered a paralegal engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (UPL).

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Continue to Lexis Advance®

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at

What's being said

  • Hope

    Excellent article; however, I would point out that when we are literally creating these pleadings, letters, etc., is that technically the "unauthorized practice of law" or are we just doing our jobs as we have learned them (through schooling or on-the-job training). The attorneys merely change a comma here and there, and voila! Having had this debate with a many, I feel (it is not the the unauthorized practice of law), others feel it is. Mind you, this does differ from state to state-some attorneys rely more heavily on their legal secretaries, some their paralegals. I can tell you from personal experience that having been a legal secretary in NJ for 15 years, all the secretaries I worked (including myself) with were relied on very heavily for paralegal/attorney-related work. Naturally, I was not exposed to all facets of same but often it was fly by the seat of your pants and hold your breath hoping it came out correct! That said, you always learned something and were responsible for your actions and the attorneys were involved. In my current state, the attorneys prepare most of their work but do rely on their paralegals for some of the heavier document preparation. At the end of the day, paralegals and legal secretaries do just need to keep it ethical and remember that the attorneys are the attorneys for a reason!

Comments are not moderated. To report offensive comments, click here.

Preparing comment abuse report for Article #1202560256298

Thank you!

This article's comments will be reviewed.