UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW CHANGES.

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 436 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 31, 2015
AN ACT TO FURTHER DEFINE THE TERM "PRACTICE LAW" FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FROM HARM RESULTING FROM THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW BY A PERSON WHO IS NOT A TRAINED AND LICENSED ATTORNEY.
Intro. by Daughtry, Bryan, Davis.

Status: Ch. SL 2016-60 (House Action) (Jun 30 2016)

SOG comments (2):

Change Long Title

Senate committee substitute to 3rd edition changed long title.  Long title was AN ACT TO FURTHER DEFINE THE TERM "PRACTICE LAW" FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FROM SERIOUS HARM RESULTING FROM THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW BY A PERSON WHO IS NOT A TRAINED AND LICENSED ATTORNEY AND TO ESTABLISH A PROCESS OF REVIEW BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL PRIOR TO ANY ACTION BY THE STATE BAR TO ENJOIN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.

Long title change

Conference report to the 4th edition changed the long title. Previous long title was AN ACT TO FURTHER DEFINE THE TERM "PRACTICE LAW" FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FROM SERIOUS HARM RESULTING FROM THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW BY A PERSON WHO IS NOT A TRAINED AND LICENSED ATTORNEY.

Bill History:

H 436/S.L. 2016-60

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Jun 30 2016 - More information

    AN ACT TO FURTHER DEFINE THE TERM "PRACTICE LAW" FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FROM HARM RESULTING FROM THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW BY A PERSON WHO IS NOT A TRAINED AND LICENSED ATTORNEY. Enacted June 30, 2016. Effective June 30, 2016.


  • Summary date: Jun 15 2016 - More information

    Conference report makes the following changes to the 4th edition.

    Amends GS 84-2.1(b), which sets out what is not encompassed in the phrase "practice law," by deleting proposed subdivision (2). Moves the language of proposed subdivision (3) to subdivision (2), and adds that the selection or completion of a preprinted residential lease agreement by a person or Web site provider is not encompassed in the phrase "practice law." Also, adds that nothing in subdivision (2) or in GS 84-2.2 is to be construed to permit any person or Web site provider not licensed to practice law in accordance with GS Chapter 84 to prepare for any third person any contract or deed conveying any interest in real property, or to abstract or pass upon title to any real property, which is located in the State. Makes technical changes.

    Enacts GS 84-2.2, Exemption and additional requirements for Web site providers.

    Provides that the practice of law, including the giving of legal advice, as defined in GS 84-2.1, does not include the operation of a Web site by a provider that offers consumers access to interactive software that generates a legal document based on the consumer's answers to questions presented by the software, provided that seven requirements are satisfied, with the first six requirements being the same as subsubdivisions a through f of proposed subdivision (2) of GS 84-2.1 that was deleted by the act. Adds a new requirement that the provider must have a consumer satisfaction process, which is conspicuously displayed on the provider's Web site. Requires all consumer concerns involving the unauthorized practice of law made to the provider to be referred to the North Carolina State Bar (Bar).

    Requires a Web site provider subject to the statute to register with the Bar prior to commencing operation in the State and to renew its registration with the Bar annually. Prohibits the Bar from refusing registration. Provides that each Web site provider subject to the statute must pay an initial registration fee not to exceed $100 and an annual renewal fee not to exceed $50.

    Provides that the General Assembly is to review the implementation of new GS 84-2.2 and consider whether the provision should be modified or discontinued by June 30, 2018.

    Changes the act's long title.


  • Summary date: Sep 23 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 3rd edition. 

    Adjusts the amendment to GS 84-2.1(b), placing certain activities outside the definition of the term practice law. Subsection (2) now refers to a website that offers consumers access to interactive software that generates a legal document based on the consumer's answers to questions presented by the software (was, production, distribution, or sale of materials). The committee substitute adjusts the listed conditions that must be met to take the website outside of the practice of law, including by requiring that an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina review each blank template offered to North Carolina consumers.  The provider must keep the name and address of each reviewing attorney on file and provide it to the customer on request. 

    Adjusts proposed subsection (3) to include selection or completion (was, completion) of a preprinted form by a real estate broker and clarifies that the exception applies when the broker is acting as an agent in a real estate transaction. 

    Includes new subsection (4), placing outside the definition of the term practice law the completion of agreements, contracts, forms, and other documents related to the sale or lease of a motor vehicle. 

    Deletes proposed amendment to GS 84-37 pertaining to investigations and injunctions by the State Bar. 

    Changes the long title. 


  • Summary date: Apr 20 2015 - More information

    House amendments make the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Amendment #1 amends GS 84-10.1 to specify that a person damaged by the unauthorized practice of law is entitled to injunctive relief as ordered by the court. Prohibits an order or judgment under the statute from having any effect on the North Carolina State Bar's ability to take action. Makes a technical correction.

    Amendment #2 amends GS 84-2.1 to add that the practice of law does not include the completion of a preprinted form by a licensed real estate broker that is prepared in accordance with rules adopted by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Makes clarifying and organizational changes.


  • Summary date: Apr 15 2015 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Adds language to GS 84-2.1 concerning the completion of a preprinted offer, option contract, sales contract, or lease from a licensed real estate broker. 

    Amends proposed GS 84-37(a1) requiring the Council of the North Carolina State Bar (Council) to submit a proposed demand to cease and desist to the Attorney General for review before issuance to the person or entity in violation (previously, allowed the Council to submit the demand for review but did not require it).

    Makes technical, clarifying, and conforming changes. 

     


  • Summary date: Mar 31 2015 - More information

    Substantively identical to S 353, filed 3/19/15.

    As the title indicates. Amends GS 84-2.1(b), adding to the actions and activities not encompassed in the phrase "practice law." Adds that the practice of law does not include the production, distribution, or sales of materials if the 11 specified conditions are satisfied, including: the production of the materials occurred entirely before any contact between the provider and the consumer; during and after initial contact between the provider and the consumer, the provider's participation in creating or completing any materials is limited to typing, writing, or reproducing exactly the information provided by the consumer or deleting content that is visible to the consumer at the instruction of the consumer; the provider does not provide any individualized legal advice to or exercise any legal judgment for the consumer; and the provider clearly and conspicuously communicates to the consumer that the materials are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.

    Amends GS 84-37, adding new subsection (a1) to establish a process of review by the state Attorney General to be undertaken before there is a cease and desist demand issued or the bringing of an action to prevent or prohibit the unauthorized practice of law. Makes conforming changes.


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