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Does a limited partnership in Minnesota require attorney representation in court? Can one, both or all parties litigate pro se?

Minneapolis, MN |

This is a limited partnership law firm; those desiring pro se representation are registered attorneys.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Minnesota Statutes section 481.02 regulates the practice of law. While on its face it only seems to prohibit corporations from representing themselves, I believe it has been applied to other entities, including LLPs and LLCs. Reading that section in light of section 491A.02 (regarding conciliation court appeals) further indicates that the entity probably needs a Minnesota licensed attorney to appear in court.

Posted

My MN colleague referenced the relevant statute. I would add that in my experience a lot frankly depends on the judge. You will be surprised how much flexibility the courts have regards to such issues.

If hiring a lawyer is not an option (as this is preferable), you should force them to make a motion and let the court rule. This will likely not disadvantage you in any way as you would be in no worse a spot and the court would give you ample time to locate counsel assuming you have not already exhausted the court's patience.

You should consult with several local litigators to get some advice here as well.

Best regards,
Frank
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
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Michael Hutchens Frasier

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Posted

I would caution you against this approach because there are civil and criminal penalties involved if you are not authorized to practice but attempt to do so.

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli

Posted

Criminal what? What are talking about? The worst case scenario is that they court will make them get counsel. They are not going to lie to the court and say they are attorneys. This happens every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Posted

Minnesota Statutes section 481.02 governs the practice of law. Subdivision 8 imposes criminal penalties for a person who violates the law. It may happen every day of the week in New York, but it does not happen here.

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli

Posted

Dear Questioner, my colleague fails to see a distinction between those practicing law without a license and those who are personally a party to a proceeding. In your case, you are a litigant and are NOT merely representing a party. I read the MN statute my colleague referenced and frankly it is far from clear upon my first reading that you would not be entitled to represent yourself here in any event. I would advise you to seek a MN attorney that can offer some concrete advice on the issue.

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Posted

I agree that the statute in question is not clear. And Attorney Natoli does make a distinction between representing yourself and representing someone or something else. A limited partnership is a distinct legal entity from its partners. So the partners could each represent themselves as individuals, but they probably cannot represent the Limited Partnership, since it is a separate entity.

Posted

If the members of the LP are licensed attorneys and want to represent the LP - aside from some conflict of interest issues that may arise - I'm not sure that the LP would be "Pro Se." It would have licensed counsel representing it.

Legal disclaimer: I am licensed to practice law in the state of Washington and the answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Michael Hutchens Frasier

Posted

Agreed - assuming the partners are licensed in Minnesota. If not, there are ways for an out-of-state attorney to become authorized to practice in a particular matter (called pro hac vice), which may be another alternative.

Arnold Garson Cohen

Arnold Garson Cohen

Posted

In Tennessee only individuals can appear in court, and must be licensed and admitted to practice law unless appearing pro se.

Posted

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