What are the Paralegal Limits on Unauthorized Practice of Law in Florida?

Paralegal working

The unauthorized practice of law is a means of protecting the public against harm caused by unlicensed individuals practicing Law. In Florida, the Supreme Court of Florida has created a specific program called the Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL).

What Would be Considered Unauthorized Practice of Law?

Certain things may be considered as UPL; however, it depends on your state’s statute. The following are examples of UPL, this list is not exhaustive: (1) initiating a lawyer-client relationship, (2) providing legal advice, (3) signing pleadings or legal papers on behalf of a client, (4) carrying out legal proceedings in a court of law, or (5) charging a legal fee for legal services.

How Can Paralegals Avoid Conducting Unauthorized Practice of Law?

A paralegal can find themselves operating under the unauthorized practice of law by merely doing things that may seem like a regular, day-to-day, office task. Things such as (1) evaluating client matters, (2) accepting cases, (3) signing clients up with a retainer agreement or engagement letter. These simple day-to-day tasks may cause a paralegal to be operating under the unauthorized practice of law.

Other examples include: (1) representing clients in court, (2) taking depositions, and or (3) signing pleadings and motions. However, some federal and state administrative agencies allow nonlawyer practice; this includes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO).

In order to avoid committing the unauthorized practice of law as a paralegal, it is recommended that they: (1) check their state status regarding UPL, (2) ask their local paralegal association, or (3) ask their supervising attorney.

However, as a general norm, paralegals should never: (1) establish an attorney-client relationship, (2) set legal fees, (3) give legal opinions or advice, (4) represent clients in court, and/or (5) engage in, encourage, or contribute to anything that could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Eric Gros-Dubois

Founding partner Eric Gros-Dubois established EPGD Business Law in 2013. With over a decade of experience expanding the firm and leading it to its current success, Eric now primarily manages the corporate division of EPGD. Given Eric’s educational background, holding both a JD and MBA, combined with his own unique experience of starting a business from scratch and growing it to a multi-million dollar firm, he brings a specialized and invaluable perspective to those seeking legal assistance for themselves and their businesses. Having now instilled his same values in our team of skilled corporate associates, Eric leads a firm that is always ready, willing, and equipped to handle any and every legal matter that a business owner may have.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.



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