You are on page 1of 12

of Law: Training for

Bankruptcy
Practitioners and Staf

March 2017
What is Unauthorized Practice
of Law?
- Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) is a broad concept that involves different types of activity

- "[T]he giving of advice or rendition of any sort of service by any person, firm or corporation
when the giving of such advice or rendition of such service requires the use of any degree of
legal knowledge or skill." People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. Schafer, 404 Ill. 45, 51, 87
N.E.2d 773 (1949).

- The practice of law is any service rendered involving legal knowledge or legal advice, whether
of representation, counsel or advocacy in or out of court, rendered in respect to the rights,
duties, obligations, liabilities, or business relations of one requiring the services. KENTUCKY
REVISED STATUTES, RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT III, PRACTICE OF LAW SCR 3.020. Practice
of Law Defined.

- These broad rules do NOT mean non-attorneys cannot participate in the legal process
Non-Lawyer Involvement Is
Perfectly Acceptable
- Non-lawyers still play a key role in assisting clients by:
- Gathering client information

- Being empathetic and gaining client trust

- Preparing clients for the steps ahead

- Why not just use an ALL attorney staff?


- Non-attorneys often relate better to clients

- Reduces cost of legal services to clients


UPL Safeguards at UpRight
Law
- Supervision
- Attorney supervision enabling all employees the ability to ask questions if need be
- Cases are assigned to partner attorneys who work with clients to prepare and file the
petitions
- Call Monitoring
- As a compliance team we regularly monitor calls
- Training
- UPL training
- Performance Improvement Loop
- Designed to address issues that any rep throughout the firm may be having while
speaking with a client
Consequences of UPL
- Possible Disgorgement of Fees

- Potential discipline by State Bar Association(s), including suspension

- Potential civil and criminal liability for firm and individuals who engage in
conduct

- E.g., in TN consequences include potential civil penalties up to


$10,000 per violation

- E.g., In Illinois consequences include civil penalties up to $5000 per


violation
What do Non-Attorney Staf
Need
- Follow Setto
ScriptDo?
- Non-Attorney Disclaimer
- Confidentiality Statement
- Stick to what the attorneys authorize you to say
- Certain Phraseology in FAQ
- Adhere to the phraseology
- This is designed to keep you and the firm safe
- Bear in mind the distinction between legal information and legal advice.
- Information is OK, while advice presents risks to the firm and you
Examples of Providing
Information vs. Advice
Generally Considered Information Generally Considered Advice

"Bankruptcy represents a way to reduce You should do a Chapter 7


or eliminate debt
Based on the information you
Definition of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and provided, you should do a Chapter 13,
advantages because it will allow you to save your
home
Definition of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and
advantages Based on the exemptions available in
your state, you will be able to keep
Bankruptcy Process your car

Exemptions (without applying them) If you want to stop a garnishment you


need to file bankruptcy
Example 1: Good Non-
Attorney/Client
- (11:15) - Im going to place you on aConversation
brief hold, I want to ask an attorney something
about your situation. - Spoke with an attorney regarding equity in the clients home
- (16:05) - The attorney is going to have to review it and make sure, but the attorney I
talked to said most likely youre still going to qualify for a chapter 7
- (18:40) - Well proceed that way, Im going to make a note of that (dependant
situation) for the lawyer to let them know exactly whats happening
- (27:40) - Im going to let the attorney know all of this, and...youll have that discussion
most likely on Monday.
- (1:11:07) - Just make sure you discuss all that (which creditors to stop paying) with
the attorney.
Example 2: Poor Non-
Attorney/Client Conversation
- Just to let you know, debt relief is not going
helps clients.
to be the best thing for you...it never

- Once you get your bankruptcy filed you can expect to see a slight increase (in credit
score), anywhere from 75-100 points.
- So how vehicles work in bankruptcy...is you just continue to make those payments
monthly and it wont be affected.
- The number 1 option for you, in my opinion, would be the chapter 7...the other
option, I dont see you electing to do, is the chapter 13.
Examples 3-6: Good or Bad?
- Im not super familiar with that [situation], so make sure to speak with your
attorney about that.
- If we can get you filed and still count it as though a dependant is still living
with you, then filing a Chapter 7 shouldnt be a problem...So thats why I
want to make sure we talk talk to your attorney and confirm...
- She (Ms. Smith) may have, frankly, just a little bit more insight than I do, I
know shes, frankly, a bit more of an experienced attorney than I am
- Yes, you can file a Chapter 7 and keep your car.
Pointers for Non-Attorneys
Use should, would, and could
Dont make promises
Follow your scripts
When client persists with a question, you can answer by telling the client
that you are not an attorney, but that they will have an opportunity to ask
those questions to their attorney
Do not give specific direction to take activity, like stop paying your bills
Do not make a legal conclusion, like Chapter 7 will be best for you.
Conclusion
Non-attorneys play key role in serving clients by being empathetic, and
providing and gathering information

Non-Attorneys must keep keep UPL in mind when interacting with clients

Key takeaway is not to apply facts to clients case or give advice, and stick to
authorized topics