Unauthorized practice of law for lawyers occurs when one engages in negotiations, mediation, civil litigation or arbitration in a jurisdiction where he or she is not authorized to practice as a lawyer (Harris, 2017). Unauthorized practice of law is often defined differently across states and despite the presence of multijurisdictional practice of law (MJP) where a lawyer has permission to practice law in states where he or she is not licensed. Many lawyers are often confused as to whether they are engaging in unauthorized practice of law in states where they are not licensed to practice (Longobardi, 2013). Unauthorized practice of law includes a lawyer practicing against the regulations of the legal profession in a given jurisdiction or assists another lawyer in going so (Smith, 2016). He or she is also not permitted to present to the public in a manner that insinuates that he or she practices law in a jurisdiction where they are not licensed to do so (Rigertas, 2018).
Just like all other professions, the practice of law is governed by ethical standards that each practicing lawyer needs to abide by. In the case, advising Mike on how to go about his divorce presents legal practice in a jurisdiction I am not licensed to practice, and this represents one ethical issue. Another ethical issue is that I am showing myself to have the authority to practice law in South Carolina to mike when I am only allowed to practice under the Massachusetts jurisdiction. It is an indication that I am engaging in the unauthorized practice of law through the legal advice I am providing for Mike. My actions further disregard the ethical standards of practicing law which do not support such practices.
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