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Can a lawyer not licensed or passed the bar in your state to practice law in your state contact you via phone

Syracuse, NY |

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?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer
Posted

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.

FOR CONSULTATION on IMMIGRATION or FAMILY LAW MATTERS Contact: Law Offices of Jennifer L. Bennett, 312.972.7969, attorney_jb@yahoo.com, 3806 W. Irving Park Road, Suite B, Chicago, IL 60618. The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advice specific to your situation and/or case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo are only general in nature; specific answers require knowledge of all facts.

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

I sued a company that has offices throughout the country. They contacted me and identified themselves as the lawyer representing them. I know §470 of judiciary law mandates you can practice in NYS without being a resident if you have an office located in NYS. Him not living in, licensed in or passing the bar in NYS can they lawfully contact me as their lawyer and act on their behalf?

Asker

Posted

As well as obviously not having an office located in NYS.

Asker

Posted

I sued one store, in my county, of the "chain" of companies across the country, if that makes a difference.

Robert A. Stumpf

Robert A. Stumpf

Posted

Yes, an out of state lawyer can call you all day long, it doesn't matter if he is licensed somewhere else. He doesn't represent YOU.

Asker

Posted

OK, thank you for the information.

Posted

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.

This reply is offered for educational purpose only. You should seek the advice of an attorney. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than an educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the undisclosed individual asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of New York. Responses are based solely on New York Law unless stated otherwise. Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service guidance, be advised that any federal tax advice contained in this written or electronic communication is not intended or written to be used and it cannot be used by any person or entity for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service or any other U.S. Federal taxing authority or agency or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

Posted

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.

Robert A. Stumpf

Robert A. Stumpf

Posted

Very good answer. I agree that what's considered UPL is going to evolve dramatically over the next several years, there is no choice.

Posted

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.

This response is intended to provide general information, but not legal advice. The response may be different if there are other or different facts than those included in the original question. See MKnutsonLaw.com for more information on why this communication is not privileged or create an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Thank you everyone for your replies. I appreciate it greatly. I represented myself in the small claims court and in the highly unlikely situation that they appeal I'll also represent myself. I'm guessing that they will not seek an appeal just attempting to coax me into a lesser amount paid. If they appeal they have to put the entire amount down, and pay a lawyer to represent them for it. I'm guessing the 2-3k it will cost them wouldn't be worth it considering the amount owed is only $900.00. I'm guessing the council was just hoping that I'd go for the lesser amount.

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