Written by attorney Danny R. Glover Jr.

84-2.1. "Practice Law" Defined.

84-2.1. "Practice law" defined.

(a) The phrase "practice law" as used in this Chapter is defined to be performing any legal service for any other person, firm or corporation, with or without compensation, specifically including the preparation or aiding in the preparation of deeds, mortgages, wills, trust instruments, inventories, accounts or reports of guardians, trustees, administrators or executors, or preparing or aiding in the preparation of any petitions or orders in any probate or court proceeding; abstracting or passing upon titles, the preparation and filing of petitions for use in any court, including administrative tribunals and other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies, or assisting by advice, counsel, or otherwise in any legal work; and to advise or give opinion upon the legal rights of any person, firm or corporation: Provided, that the above reference to particular acts which are specifically included within the definition of the phrase "practice law" shall not be construed to limit the foregoing general definition of the term, but shall be construed to include the foregoing particular acts, as well as all other acts within the general definition.

(b) The phrase "practice law" does not encompass:

(1) The drafting or writing of memoranda of understanding or other mediation summaries by mediators at community mediation centers authorized by G.S. 7A-38.5 or by mediators of employment-related matters for The University of North Carolina or a constituent institution, or for an agency, commission, or board of the State of North Carolina.

(2) The selection or completion of a preprinted form by a real estate broker licensed under Chapter 93A of the General Statutes, when the broker is acting as an agent in a real estate transaction and in accordance with rules adopted by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, or the selection or completion of a preprinted residential lease agreement by any person or Web site provider. Nothing in this subdivision or in G.S. 84-2.2 shall be construed to permit any person or Web site provider who is not licensed to practice law in accordance with this Chapter to prepare for any third person any contract or deed conveying any interest in real property, or to abstract or pass upon title to any real property, which is located in this State.

(3) The completion of or assisting a consumer in the completion of various agreements, contracts, forms, and other documents related to the sale or lease of a motor vehicle as defined in G.S. 20-286(10), or of products or services ancillary or related to the sale or lease of a motor vehicle, by a motor vehicle dealer licensed under Article 12 of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes. (C.C.P., s. 424; 1870-1, c. 90; 1871-2, c. 120; 1880, c. 43; 1883, c. 406; Code, ss. 27, 28, 110; Rev., ss. 210, 3641; 1919, c. 205; C.S., s. 198; 1933, c. 15; 1941, c. 177; 1943, c. 543; 1945, c. 468; 1995, c. 431, s. 3; 1999-354, s. 2; 2004-154, s. 2; 2013-410, s. 32; 2016-60, s. 1.)

Additional resources provided by the author

84-2.2. Exemption and additional requirements for Web site providers. (a) The practice of law, including the giving of legal advice, as defined by G.S. 84-2.1 does not include the operation of a Web site by a provider that offers consumers access to interactive software that generates a legal document based on the consumer's answers to questions presented by the software, provided that all of the following are satisfied: (1) The consumer is provided a means to see the blank template or the final, completed document before finalizing a purchase of that document. (2) An attorney licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina has reviewed each blank template offered to North Carolina consumers, including each and every potential part thereof that may appear in the completed document. The name and address of each reviewing attorney must be kept on file by the provider and provided to the consumer upon written request. (3) The provider must communicate to the consumer that the forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. (4) The provider discloses its legal name and physical location and address to the consumer. (5) The provider does not disclaim any warranties or liability and does not limit the recovery of damages or other remedies by the consumer. (6) The provider does not require the consumer to agree to jurisdiction or venue in any state other than North Carolina for the resolution of disputes between the provider and the consumer. (7) The provider must have a consumer satisfaction process. All consumer concerns involving the unauthorized practice of law made to the provider shall be referred to the North Carolina State Bar. The consumer satisfaction process must be conspicuously displayed on the provider's Web site. (b) A Web site provider subject to this section shall register with the North Carolina State Bar prior to commencing operation in the State and shall renew its registration with the State Bar annually. The State Bar may not refuse registration. (c) Each Web site provider subject to this section shall pay an initial registration fee in an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00) and an annual renewal fee in an amount not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00). (2016-60, s. 2.) § 84-3. Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 108, s. 37. § 84-4. Persons other than members of State Bar prohibited from practicing law. Except as otherwise permitted by law, it shall be unlawful for any person or association of persons, except active members of the Bar of the State of North Carolina admitted and licensed to practice as attorneys-at-law, to appear as attorney or counselor at law in any action or proceeding before any judicial body, including the North Carolina Industrial Commission, or the Utilities Commission; to maintain, conduct, or defend the same, except in his own behalf as a party thereto; or, by word, sign, letter, or advertisement, to hold out himself, or themselves, as competent or qualified to give legal advice or counsel, or to prepare legal documents, or as being engaged in advising or counseling in law or acting as attorney or counselor-at-law, or in furnishing the services of a lawyer or lawyers; and it shall be unlawful for any person or association of persons except active members of the Bar, for or without a fee or consideration, to give legal advice or counsel, perform for or furnish to another legal services, or to prepare directly or through another for another person, firm or corporation, any will or testamentary disposition, or instrument of trust, or to organize corporations or prepare for another person, firm or corporation, any other legal document. Provided, that nothing herein shall prohibit any person from drawing a will for another in an emergency wherein the imminence of death leaves insufficient time to have the same drawn and its execution supervised by a licensed attorney-at-law. The provisions of this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any other provisions of this Chapter. Provided, however, this section shall not apply to corporations authorized to practice law under the provisions of Chapter 55B of the General Statutes of North Carolina. (1931, c. 157, s. 1; 1937, c. 155, s. 1; 1955, c. 526, s. 1; 1969, c. 718, s. 19; 1981, c. 762, s. 3; 1995, c. 431, s. 4.)

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer