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Bar News - July 6, 2007

Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force Formed

Positive responses from attorneys in a number of practice areas to a letter from NHBA President Richard McNamara have led to the formation of an Unauthorized Practice of Law Task Force.


McNamara wrote the letter soliciting interest from attorneys in participating on a task force that would reexamine the UPL issue. McNamara, who stepped down as NHBA President last month said he was prompted by the ongoing concerns expressed by members and the potential for a more positive reception by lawmakers to strengthen consumer protection in this area.


Peter W. Heed, Cheshire County Attorney and a former NH Attorney General, was appointed by McNamara to chair the group, which, as a task force, will be an entity of limited duration. The focus of the group will be to consider whether a definition of the practice of law can be developed and put into law that can be effective at stopping or preventing unqualified persons from providing services that lawyers should be providing, given their advanced levels of training and the protections provided to clients in a lawyer-client relationship.


At its June 26 meeting, the task force decided to split into two working groups, one to focus on producing a definition of the practice of law (incorporating the work of an earlier Bar committee and a legislative study committee that drafted versions that were never enacted), and a working group that will focus on enforcement vehicles.


Heed also said that he is considering a survey of practitioners to identify concerns with UPL and to find examples of harm to consumers or clients caused by non-lawyers doing what would generally be considered legal work.


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