Out of Massachusetts comes a disciplinary opinion illustrating (again) the multiple consequences that can come from the unauthorized practice of law.  In this one, however, the twist is that two brothers were involved — and they apparently got away with their UPL for 18 years.

Practicing in the Ocean State

The two brothers were licensed

Beach Office 1Practicing law out of a “virtual law office” (“VLO”), without being tied to the overhead expense of a brick-and-mortar facility, is increasingly attractive to lawyers in many stages of their careers:  junior lawyers hanging out their shingles in a tough market; senior lawyers who want to keep practicing, but in a flexible format; and mid-career

As we’ve predicted before, the increasing globalization of high-level legal practice continues to create questions about forms of legal practice – in particular, vereins, a structure aimed at letting firms based in different countries operate under a unified brand. Mega-firms Fulbright & Jaworski and Dentons have faced motions to disqualify centered on structural issues, and now a Texas ethics opinion issued last month questions whether lawyers in the Lone Star state can use a verein name on pleadings.
Continue Reading Ethics opinion nixes use of verein names in TX, but firms say “Business as usual.”

Has your mother-in-law ever asked you for legal help? Giving legal advice to family members can be challenging for lots of reasons — but it comes with the territory when you have a law license. A Colorado lawyer, however, recently got into disciplinary trouble for helping his Minnesota in-laws in a small collection matter. In a badly flawed decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that he’d engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
Continue Reading Out-of-state lawyer disciplined for e-mail negotiations; no safe harbor from unauthorized practice, says MN court

As we learned in the Watergate era, “It’s not the crime — it’s the cover-up,” and that truism has an analog in the world of lawyer ethics, as a recent disciplinary case out of the District of Columbia illustrates.
Continue Reading Snoring lawyer disciplined in Va. gets reciprocal discipline in D.C. — It’s the cover-up, stupid