Susan has been a paralegal for attorney Dominick Nelson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for 15 years. Currently, she is assisting him on a case representing Mary Hilson in a personal injury action against Harry Sanders in connection with an automobile accident. The court requires all parties in automobile cases to submit to mandatory arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution designed to eliminate trial if the matter can be resolved. The arbitration is set for 1:00 p.m. at the arbitrator’s office. Dominick has arranged for Mary and their key witness, Lois Lane, to appear at the hearing. However, at 11:45, Dominick calls Susan to advise that his car broke down and he is going to be late to the arbitration. Susan asks if she should call the arbitrator, Arnold Dalton, and request a delay. Dominick does not want a delay because he previously requested a delay, and knows the arbitrator is annoyed. Thus, he instructs Susan to take his notes from his desk with regard to questioning Mary, Lois, and Harry at the arbitration, and tells her to simply “start without me.” He instructs her to simply introduce herself to the arbitrator and the defendant’s counsel as “Susan, Dominick’s associate.” Dominick has complete faith in Susan as she has watched him conduct both direct and cross examinations on many occasions. Susan grabs the file, and races to the arbitrator’s office. Once there, she introduces herself to the arbitrator, all parties, and opposing counsel as “Susan, Dominick’s associate.” She proceeds to do an excellent job conducting a direct exam of Mary and the witness, and then cross-examining the defendant Harry. Susan is thankful for the informality of the arbitration hearing because she really does not know the procedural rules for actual trial. Following all testimony, Susan and opposing counsel make their final arguments to the arbitrator in support of their respective positions. The arbitrator deliberates, and then returns a ruling and award in favor of Mary. The client is thrilled with Susan’s performance! However, Susan has now been charged with the Unauthorized Practice of Law, and has retained attorney John Davidson to represent her.
You are John’s paralegal. He has requested that you prepare a 1.5-2 page internal legal memorandum addressing the following elements:
- How does Pennsylvania define the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL)?
- Is Susan guilty of UPL? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What are the penalties in Pennsylvania for engaging in UPL?
Your memorandum should be “Law Office Ready” and include all of the required elements of a memorandum. See the Everest Law Office Memorandum document on the Legal Writing Resources page if you need a template. You may also consult the internal legal memorandum format set forth in Chapter 9.
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