My question concerns unauthorized practice of law. I am starting my 1L year next fall.
A few months ago I started working for this immigration consulting company as a paralegal. The way it was described to me is that they provided services to foreign businesses and entrepreneurs who want to do business in the US, including but not limited to filing petitions with USCIS. The company itself is not a law firm, but they employ attorneys on contract. These contract attorneys are involved with cases, but the extent to which they actually manage the cases is much less than I realized when I started. A lot of work, likely too much work, is done and supervised by non-attorneys.
After about five months I became concerned that the company was engaging in unauthorized practice of law, but I was not and am not entirely sure. But it sketched me out too much, so I quit. Because of that and some truly sour coworkers.
The company has been around for over a decade, they do employ attorneys albeit on contract and in an indirect role. Everything else about the business seemed kosher, especially at the outset. There have been no investigations, no findings, no convictions of any wrong doing of any kind during the company's entire history, as far as I know, as well as during the time I spent with them. While I am not 100% convinced they were engaging in unauthorized practice of law, I am more than 50% convinced that they were.
My concern is this: Will I have to report this when I apply to the bar? I am worried that when I submit affidavits from all my law-related employment, they will see "consulting company" or see that the CEO of the company is a non-attorney, and that they will investigate further. Again, I'm not 100% sure that this even was unauthorized practice of law, but I'm wondering if I will have to report it just based on the suspicion or what would happen if the examiners were like "well, why did you leave after 5 months...bla bla bla."
(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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This is an interesting situation, but I wouldn't worry about it now. Maybe share your concerns with the administration at your school when you go, but that would really just be so that they could tell you that you didn't do anything and to put you at peace.
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