Thanks Michael, I guess my question was not about filing registrations, but providing legal advice on say a copyright or trademark infringement matter that's happening in the questioner's state where something needs to be done, and action is taken (or not) based on the legal advice they receive. Thanks in advance for the follow-up.
My pleasure. I see a lot, and try to say a lot, to consult local counsel. Aside from the licensing issues you mention, and Mr. Marcus mentions, about the interplay with state law, such as contract law, state unfair competition law, etc., I believe there is a great value of having an attorney in your "neighborhood" that you can visit, personally evaluate face to face rather than electronically, and who may be more informed on how local conditions affect your legal questions. I don't think it's a matter of unauthorized practice, but best total service to the client.
I second Attorney Doland's comment. The issue I think you are really bothered by is not "unauthorized" practice, but the ability of out-of-state attorneys to advise on federal law. To put it bluntly "Federal law knows no state boundaries." And, as Attorney Doland states, even if the issues are local law issues, out of state attorneys can advise without practicing law, particularly where they are not speaking to a "client." Again, the disclaimers we use are quite succinct and clear and unequivocal about that.