Opinions Concerning Unauthorized Practice of Law
Ethics opinions from the State Bar of Michigan Standing Committees on Professional and Judicial Ethics concerning a lawyer's duty to prevent and report unauthorized practice of law.
State Bar Ethics Opinions
The State Bar Committees on Professional and Judicial Ethics are authorized to provide written opinions on response to a request from a member of the State Bar concerning the member's own prospective conduct, or in response to a judicial officer concerning an ethics question arising in a proceeding pending before the judicial officer. The Committee is not authorized to provide opinions on past conduct or on questions of law.
Informal opinions are drafted by individual committee members and are circulated to the committee for comment before release to the inquirer; the opinions are denoted "RI" to indicate informal opinions interpreting the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, and "CI" to indicate informal opinions interpreting the former Michigan Code of Professional Responsibility. Formal opinions have interest or wide reaching implications for the entire bar, and are approved by the State Bar Board of Commissioners prior to release; the opinions are denoted "R" to indicate formal opinions interpreting the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, and "C" to indicate opinions interpreting the former Michigan Code of Professional Responsibility.
State Bar Ethics Opinions have no force and effect of law and may not be relied upon as an absolute defense to a charge of ethical misconduct.
Updated through February 2022:
JI-26 Judicial Duties to Prevent Unauthorized Practice of Law—Contempt Remedies for UPL
RI-34 Non-lawyers Preparing Legal Documents
RI-55 Lawyer Appearing in Non-lawyer Capacity
RI-101 A Lawyer's Duty to Report Suspected UPL—Continued Practice by a Suspended Attorney
RI-103 Employee Performing in Administrative Agency Representation
RI-125 Legal Assistants Employed by an Attorney Participating in Administrative Hearings
RI-191 Trust Services by Non-lawyers
RI-298 Title Office/UPL
RI-325 Intermediary for Trust Kit Sales
RI-349 Using Non-lawyer as Intermediary—Non-attorney Employees of Law Firms
RI-353 Firm Name Including Foreign-Licensed Lawyer
RI-380 Duties of an Out-of-State Lawyer Who Applies for Admission
RI-382 Implications for Interacting with Out-of-State Counsel
C-211 Law Firm Hiring Disciplined Lawyer in Non-law Capacity
CI-602 Employment of Disciplined Lawyer
- Article, Disciplined Lawyers and the Unauthorized Practice of Law, Vol 68 No 11 MBJ 1108 (1989).
- Ethics Spotlight, Ethics and Legal Assistants, Vol 71 No 8 MBJ 826 (1992).
- Article, What is the Unauthorized Practice of Law and How is it Regulated?, Vol 76 No 6 MBJ 580 (997).
Notice to Lawyers:
State Bar of Michigan ethics opinions are advisory and non-binding in nature. This index is a complete historical catalog. Some of the listed ethics opinions, though not expressly superseded in subsequent ethics opinions, may be nonetheless outmoded or no longer sound due to subsequent changes in case law, statutes, or court rules. Practitioners are urged to thoroughly research all sources to determine the current validity of any given ethics opinion.