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Unauthorized Practice of Law

If you are a CBA member and go to Casemaker, our online legal research library, to search for "unauthorized practice of law" in The Colorado Lawyer, you will get 194 matching documents. There are a myriad of articles on this topic.

Each of the articles, handouts, formal ethics opinions, and Rules of Professional Conduct linked below cite case law on this subject too numerous to delineate here. Please review each of the items below for the case law.

The Colorado Supreme Court has held that the preparation and marketing of living trust documents by a non-lawyer or a corporation constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. People v. Schmitt, 126 Colo. 546, 251 P.2d 915 (1952).

The 2006 Annual Report of the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel states:

“The Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee may direct trial counsel to seek a civil injunction by filing a petition with the Supreme Court or, in the alternative, offer the respondent an opportunity to enter into a written agreement to refrain from the conduct in question, to refund any fees collected,and to make restitution. Additionally, trial counsel may institute contempt proceedings against a respondent that is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. See C.R.C.P. 238.

In 2006 the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee took action on 26 unauthorized practice of law matters, and 22 complaints were dismissed by Regulation Counsel, for a total of 48 completed matters. See Table 28.”

See Colo. R.P.C. Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law: Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.

Formal Ethics Opinion 61: Legal Assistants

Formal Ethics Opinion 79: Use of Legal Assistants in Client Representation

Formal Ethics Opinion 87: Collaboration with Non-Lawyers in Preparation and Marketing of Estate Planning Documents

Issues Involving the Unauthorized Practice of Law - James C. Coyle, Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, Sept. 17, 2008 (presented to the CBA Paralegal Committee)

Unauthorized Practice of Law, August 2007, Presenters were James C. Coyle, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, Denver, Colorado; and Philip A. Cherner, Criminal Defense Attorney, CBA-CLE Homestudy