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Practicing Law Without A License

Practicing Law Without A License

Practicing Law Without A License

Practicing Law Without A License

Practicing law without a license is a terrible idea that happens to some professionals, consultants or real estate agents may go over the line.

Be careful when carrying out your professional relationships and know where the line is for what your jurisdiction considers the unauthorized practice of law.  

In this article – we cover when some professional may enter into the unlicensed practice of laws and how to avoid it.

Unauthorized Practice of Law

Illinois, like all states, prohibits the practice of law by individuals not admitted to practice in the state. Illinois sets this forth in the Attorney Act, 705 ILCS § 205/0.01 et seq. Section one of the Act provides that:

“No person shall be permitted to practice as an attorney or counselor at law within [Illinois] without having previously obtained a license for that purpose from the Supreme Court of this State[.]”

The Illinois State Bar Association provides a wealth of Ethics Opinions on this topic. 

The Illinois Supreme Court has long held that the practice of law involves giving advice or rendering of services which require the use of legal skills or knowledge. People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Assoc. v. Schafer, 404 Ill. 45, 87 N.E. 2d 773, 776 (1949). That is, the “practice of law” is much more than simply going to court or representing someone in litigation. Here are just a few samples of activity which constitutes the “practice of law” in Illinois:

  1. Representing someone in an arbitration, even if the arbitrators aren’t lawyers (ISBA Opinion No. 12-17)
  2. Assisting or advising someone in completing corporate documents, even documents provided by the Secretary of State (ISBA Opinion No. 95-7)

Representing someone in a property tax appeals in many Illinois jurisdictions (In re Yamaguchi, 118 Ill. 2d 417, 515 N.E.2d 1235 (1987)

What Crosses the Line for Unauthorized Practice of Law?

The line for unauthorized practice can get especially blurry with high volume practices like residential real estate and consumer bankruptcy, in which lawyers rely heavily on paraprofessionals to process a large volume of often duplicative paperwork. The important distinction for these kinds of practices is that non-lawyers can perform administrative tasks like simply filling out information (names, addresses, etc.), but once they start making changes to the forms themselves, they may be stepping over the line and into unauthorized practice. This risk is especially serious for lawyers working in high volume practices, and lawyers who work frequently with other professionals like accountants and financial planners.

Here are some simple tips for staying on the safe side of the law.

  1. ALWAYS ask first. If you have any questions as to whether sometimes constitutes the practice of law, then ask. Lawyers should foster a culture in which paraprofessionals never hesitate to err on the side of caution.
  2. Let your clients know. Make sure they are clear on what kind of services they are receiving, and make sure there’s no confusion as to who is and is not a lawyer. If you work with another professional services firm, make sure to use distinct letterhead.
  3. Create clear Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations (RR&E, in business lingo). Administrative staff should understand that they’re doing administrative tasks. E.g., they might be filling out information in a form, but they should not be drafting forms.
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David Silvers

David Silvers

Regulatory Lawyer

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Thomas Howard was on the ball and got things done. Easy to work with, communicates very well, and I would recommend him anytime.
R. Martindale

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Illinois Hemp Lawyer

Illinois Hemp Lawyer

Illinois Hemp Lawyer

Final Illinois Hemp Rules Released

 

Our Illinois Hemp Lawyers have written extensively on the first new agricultural commodity of the 21st century – hemp – over on our sister website focusing on our cannabis law practice – www.CannabisIndustryLawyer.com.

Illinois hemp Lawyer

Illinois hemp application bot

Illinois Hemp Farmers & Processors Need a Business Lawyer

For answers on the confusing term “agent”  discussed below – you can find the 2nd Notice Filing and Responses to Public Comments – Linked Here. 

Call Cannabis Attorney Thomas Howard at (309) 740-4033.

Want to Get a Hemp License

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Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Peoria Hemp Lawyer

Whether you’re growing and processing your first crop of hemp, or your 4th, we can help you in Illinois.

Welcome to the Collateral Base – your resource for secured transactions and commercial banking litigation in downstate, Illinois, with its principal office in

Counties: Peoria, McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, Knox, Henry, Rock Island, Fulton, LaSalle, Bureau, Mason, Logan, Sangamon, Macon, Woodford.

Cities: Peoria, Pekin, Morton, Eureka, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Rock Island, Princeton, Ottawa, Lewistown, Galesburg, Monmouth.

Final Illinois Hemp Rules Released

Approximately one month after the public comment period ended for the first draft of the Illinois Hemp Regulations, the State has released its final version.

Now you can read them yourself

– Hemp Rules Link

We are going to discuss the new rules, which could be the final rules.  Currently, the State calls them the Industrial Hemp Rules With Second Notice Edits.

For more about the procedure of releasing regulations, or rules, after a law is passed – watch the video above.

Illinois Hemp Application Rules

In Illinois, two main hemp applications are covered by the rules – the cultivators’ license, and the processors registration.

The first draft of the rules required any person that either grew (cultivated) or manufactured (processed) hemp needed a license.

However, the first draft of the Rules did not make it clear if each and every employee of the company growing or processing hemp required a separate license.

Think if each and every employee at the local bar required a liquor license – how much more expensive would your drink order become?!

But, unlike your drink order, CBD rich hemp cannot make you intoxicated.  So when reading the newly revised rules.  We caught the attention of a few new terms and what they may mean.

New Changes to Hemp Rules

The newly added terms in the Hemp rules are in red line – and one of them is the new term of art – an “agent.”

An “Agent” is :

“Agent” means any family member, employee, contracted employee, or farmhand of a licensed or registered hemp cultivator or processor.

This is a new term under the rules.  We did not use the red-line version right here, but if you look at the rules link – you will see it in red. This new “Agent” term creates a very burdensome and expensive reading of the rules.  Let’s explain.

Section 1200.20 General Provisions

The general provsions of Illinois Hemp’s regulations provides that:

No person shall cultivate (or process) industrial hemp in the State without first receiving an Industrial Hemp Cultivation License (or registration to process) from the Department.

The next questions is, okay, if each person requires a license or registration to either grow or process hemp in Illinois, then how is “Person” defined under the regulations.

A “Person” defined under Hemp Regulations in Illinois.

You can find the answer in the definitions section – a “Person” is defined as:

“Person” means any individual, partnership, firm, corporation, company, society, association, the State or any department, agency, or subdivision thereof, or any other entity, or the agent thereof.

Does each Employee Require a Hemp License or Registration?

Illinois hemp rules second draft

WTF does that mean?

Because each “person” that handles or grows hemp requires a license or registration to do so in Illinois, and the definition of the term “person” includes the newly defined term “Agent,” then we have a legal conclusion confronting us.

Does each employee – or even family member – count as an agent, which is a person – who all require a license or registration to either grow or process hemp?

Agent should me one license (or registration) per business location.  If you read the comments to why they added the term “agent” it was to help address the issue of licensing all employees and provide clarity – but as you see it does not happen by only reading the rules, you also have to read the commentary on the rules to get the intent of the agency.

How to Start Your Illinois Hemp Application

The vast majority of the information required to complete your business’ Illinois hemp license application is available online. 

We wait for Illinois to produce their official form of application to be able to help our clients make sure their application is correct.

We are also in close contact with the State of Illinois regarding the scope of the licenses and registrations to see if the newly introduced terms may come onto the scene.  For now it appears that Illinois will be starting to take hemp applications very soon.

So call now to start your Hemp application – right now.

 

Want to Get a Hemp License?

We are helping businesses like yours get into the fast growing Illinois Hemp market.

Thomas Howard was on the ball and got things done. Easy to work with, communicates very well, and I would recommend him anytime.

R. Martindale

Right of First Refusal

Right of First Refusal

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Need A Business Lawyer?

Call our law offices with your legal questions for help on:

  1. real estate contracts
  2. business contract disputes
  3. Shareholder litigation
  4. cannabis business
  5. fraud actions
  6. mechanic's liens

 

REACH US BY EMAIL