Can a person give legal advice for fee without proper license?

Asked over 3 years ago - Snohomish, WA

I would like to know, if someone is running a business to give legal advice for people with small business to show a direction or process to reduce their monthly rent/payment by charging fee be legal? I have small one store rental. My tenant also called me to reduce their rent even though we have contract and was demending for reduction due to poor business performance. So, when I saw this ad, I was shocked.
Understand, anything can be business material, but this ad was about giving advise to small business owners how to adjust and negociate their monthly rent by paying a fee just doesn't seem right type of business. Especially if this person who is giving advise doesn't have legal license but calls his business as "Legal Services"

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Irving A Sonkin

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . There is a fine line between business and legal advice. In the State of Washington, we have an intergrated bar. This means that all matters regarding the practice of law are handled by the Washington State Bar Association. The WSBA is subject to control by the Washington State Supreme Court. All practicing attorneys are licensed by the WABA. Whether or not a person can charge for 'legal advice' depends on whether the WSBA considers it the unauthorized practice of law. You can check with the WSBA directly. I would assume that telling a tenant that they could reduce rent is probably not the practice of law, unless the tenant claims legal, not economic grounds. As to your tenant's question, you have to make a business decision as to whether you wish to allow for rent reduction. On the facts you state, there are no legal grounds to make rent concessions.

  2. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . The answer to your question is that giving legal advice without a license is the unauthorized practice of law, whether there is a charge or not. Anyone doing this can be prosecuted. In addition, anyone doing this is liable to those to whom the unauthorized advice is given at the very least for any damages that occur as a result of the purported advice.

    This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.

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