What does “UPL” mean?
There have been many issues regarding persons acting as attorneys without actually having a license to do so (known as the unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”)). The UPL is a very serious issue and can cause a lot of harm to innocent persons. Unfortunately, many cases of UPL go unreported. Many states have tried providing education to the public to be careful in who they hire to help with their legal problems. Additionally, many states, such as Florida, have established programs to protect the public against harm caused by individuals pretending to be attorneys.
Recently, Jerome Dunbar, was allegedly practicing law in Connecticut for 13 years. Mr. Dunbar represented clients in Connecticut Appellate Court, Connecticut Housing Court, and Connecticut Department of Labor hearing. Mr. Dunbar was charged with seven counts of unauthorized practice of law, and faces up to five years in prison and a $35,000 fine. Additionally, there have been cases of individuals fooling persons within the Hispanic community by calling themselves a notario. In Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, a notario can perform several legal services. Others get fooled by paralegals and legal assistants stating they can help with your legal problem. Paralegals and legal assistants should be working under the supervision of attorney. It is important to remember that the only persons that should give you legal advice are your lawyers. Non-lawyers, even with education and training, should not be giving legal advice nor going to court for you.
What is the Difference Between Real Estate Agents, Real Estate Brokers, and Real Estate Attorneys?
Many people also do not understand the difference between real estate agents, real estate brokers, and real estate attorneys. Real estate agents are salesmen working under the supervision of a real estate broker. Agents have the power to help buyers find a home within their price range in the area they wish. Real estate brokers, on the other hand, are similar to real estate agents, except that brokers have pursued additional education and credentials allowing them to work independently and supervise other real estate agents. A real estate attorney can be considered the glue that pieces everything together. Real estate attorneys help deal with any issues that come with the sale of the land. For example, issues regarding title to the property, boundary lines, zoning, leases, etc. Real estate attorneys have the ability to read contracts and provide advice to determine if a contract is too one sided. Ultimately, attorneys have the power to protect both the buyer and seller from most of the foreseeable risks associated with a real estate purchase. Contacting a real estate attorney prior to a closing can prevent an individual from spending lots of money in defending claims later on.