Can a lawyer not licensed or passed the bar in your state to practice law in your state contact you via phone from their state hundreds of miles away representing a company in a small claims case that the company lost and is possibly appealing?
Said to me on the phone:
"We're looking at appealing and if we choose to do that, we'll do that within the time to an appellate judge, and the only thing I would suggest if you're interested in having the money now instead of going through the appeals process the company would probably make you an offer of something less then the judgement amount."
I doubt it but, is that blackmail?
An unlicensed lawyer may not engage in the practice of law. However, it doesn't sound like that was the case here--sounds like this individual was just contacting you on behalf of the company--its your choice whether to answer or speak with the person, or with anyone from the company for that matter. Also, doesn't sound like it was harassment as it didn't occur repetitively and doesn't seem unreasonable in any way. Sounds like this person was trying to be reasonable and work out the best solution for everyone, and was giving you an honest, heads-up idea of what they are thinking. Appeals can be costly and time-consuming for everyone involved. However, to preserve your best interests, you should consult with an experienced attorney where you live for advice on how to proceed.
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3 lawyers agree
Of course a lawyer can call you. Why not? You are not his client. Why does it matter to you what state that person is admitted to?
And no, it's not blackmail. It just sounds like an offer to me.
This is AVVO, a place for users to obtain general legal information to general legal questions. I am glad to help you in any way I can, within those limits. I wish to make clear I am only communicating with you for the sole purpose of exchanging such general information, and nothing more. It is not legal advice, which I can not provide because among other reasons I know few of the necessary details of your situation. I do not purport to represent you in any way, shape or form. Of course, if you would like to seek out my services, and if you are a NY resident, I will probably not put up very much resistance but representation would still necessitate a signed retainer agreement between yourself and I. Thank you.
5 lawyers agree
International Law Attorney
I concur with my colleague. I would add that it seemed to me a conciliatory attempt to resolve the issue in a civil manner. What matters is also what you want to do with the judgment in your favor. My suggestion is to hire an attorney in your area.
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4 lawyers agree
Communications & Media Law Attorney
As a result of the internet, virtual law firms, "unbundling of legal services," Legal Zoom, and legal outsourcing, the ethical rules of state jurisdictions are evolving to take into account the revolution of the Digital Age. Some have gone so far as to say that there is no unauthorized practice of law short of making an appearance in court on behalf of a client. While I do not think one can rely on this outlier of legal ethics, I think it would be absurd to hold a lawyer for a national company guilty of an ethical violation because he was attempting to negotiate a settlement with a party or action situated outside of the jurisdictions of his bar admissions. In this sense, I agree with my colleagues.
1 lawyer agrees
Health Care Lawyer
It's not blackmail. It sounds like an offer to talk settlement.
If you had counsel in the small claims matter you should advise him or her of the call. It would be, at most, an ethics violation to contact you directly if the attorney knew you were represented.
If you did not have an attorney in that case, who else could the counsel for the other side call to try and resolve it?
In either case, it's your decision whether or not to go further.
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