Why State Courts Should Authorize Nonlawyers to Practice Law

March 1, 2023

The unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”) is a crime in most states.  Many scholars have criticized UPL laws as unnecessary impediments to low-income individuals’ ability to obtain legal help. Meanwhile, courts often defend these laws by analogizing the dangers posed by unlicensed legal practice to those posed by unlicensed medical practice.  Chronicling two notable UPL suits to illustrate how nonlawyers may help low-income individuals seeking legal assistance and arguing that comparison to the medical profession in many ways favors liberalizing UPL enforcement, Professor Bruce Green concludes that state courts should allow nonlawyers greater freedom to provide legal assistance.

This Essay was prepared for the Colloquium entitled In Memory of Deborah Rhode, hosted by the Fordham Law Review and co-organized by the Stein Center for Law and Ethics on October 21, 2022, at Fordham University School of Law.

March 2023

No. 4