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Old Rule 5.5 Unauthorized Practice of Law


A lawyer shall not:

    (a) practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulations of the legal profession in that jurisdiction; or

    (b) assist a person who is not a member of the Colorado bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.


The definition of the practice of law is established by law and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Whatever the definition, limiting the practice of law to members of the bar protects the public against rendition of legal services by unqualified persons. Paragraph (b) does not prohibit a lawyer from employing the services of paraprofessionals and delegating functions to them, so long as the lawyer supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for their work. See Rule 5.3. Likewise, it does not prohibit lawyers from providing professional advice and instruction to nonlawyers whose employment requires knowledge of law; for example, claims adjusters, employees of financial or commercial institutions, social workers, accountants and persons employed in governmental agencies. In addition, a lawyer may counsel nonlawyers who wish to proceed pro se.

Committee Comment

The two subparts in this Rule are nearly identical to DR 3-101(B) and DR 3-101(A), respectively. Rule 5.3(b) replaces "nonlawyer" found in DR 3-101(A) with "person who is not a member of the Colorado bar." The latter phrase is better, especially since it should eliminate some of the confusion that now arises when lawyers who are licensed elsewhere relocate to Colorado and begin work, perhaps in a law firm as an associate, before gaining admission to the Colorado bar.