CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS ASSISTANTS IN AGREEMENT WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

THE PROPOSAL BY THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION THAT WOULD PROHIBIT ANYONE BUT LAWYERS FROM GIVING ADVICE ABOUT THE LAW IS DRAWING OPPOSITION FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IT INTENDS TO STIFLE COMPETITION AND COULD SUBJECT REAL ESTATE AGENTS, INCOME TAX PREPARERS, CREDIT COUNSELORS, AND OTHER LAYPEOPLE TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.

THE PROPOSAL WOULD ALSO PROHIBIT NONLAWYERS FROM NEGOTIATION ON BEHALF OF OTHERS AND “SELECTING, DRAFTING OR COMPLETING LEGAL DOCUMENTS.” THE ABA WILL VOTE ON IT IN AUGUST.

BUT, THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SCOPE OF THE PROPOSAL AND SUBMITTED OBJECTIONS IN A LETTER TO THE BAR ASSOCIATION IN DECEMBER.

THE PROPOSED DEFINTION IS WIDELY CONSIDEREDTO BE EXPANSIVE WHEN COMPARED TO THE EXISTING PROHIBITIONS ON THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW IN ALMOST EVERY STATE.

PROFESSOR LUBET AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERISTY STATES, “THE PROPOSAL IS ANTIDEMOCRATIC. IN A DEMOCRACY, EVERYONE HAS AN INTEREST IN DISCUSSING THE LAW. THE CONTENT OF THE LAW, RIGHTS AND REMEDIES, IS MEANT TO BE PART OF THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE.”

EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE PUBLIC USE NONLAWYERS. THIS PROPOSAL WOULD GREATLY REDUCE THE ADVANTAGE FOR ALL PEOPLE TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE COURT SYTEM AND GAIN KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW.

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT CALDA CONTACT ANITA D. PARGA AT PARGA & ASSOCIATES (559) 673-6006.

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