Provides that practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered shall be a class E felony instead of a misdemeanor.
Ayes (58): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Young, Zeldin
Excused (3): Hannon, Martins, Valesky
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the judiciary law, in relation to practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered
PURPOSE: The purpose of this legislation is to amend the Judiciary Law to increase penalties for the unlawful practice of law when such actions cause damages in excess of $1000.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one amends section 478 of the Judiciary Law to provide a pro hac vice exception to unlawful practice.
Section two makes technical amendments to section 485 of the Judiciary Law.
Section three amends the Judiciary Law to create a new section 485-a, establishing a class D felony for violations of sections 478, 484, 486 or 495 of the Judiciary Law when the violation causes more than $1000 in damages.
Section 4 makes conforming amendments to section 486 of the Judiciary Law.
Section 5 makes conforming amendments to section 495 of the Judiciary Law.
Section 6 provides the effective date.
EXISTING LAW: Currently, those persons who hold themselves out as an attorney-at-law or counselor-at-law without being admitted and registered are guilty of a misdemeanor.
JUSTIFICATION: The purpose of this legislation is to provide consistency within the law regarding the unauthorized practice of a profession. Under section 6512 of the Education Law, anyone not authorized to practice under Title VIII who practices or holds himself (or herself) out as being able to practice in any profession for which a license is required commits a class E felony. Examples of those professionals licensed under Title VIII of the Education Law include physicians, chiropractors, dentists, veterinarians, physical therapists, pharmacists, registered professional nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed master social workers, certified public accountants, landscape architects, certified shorthand reporters, etc.
Licenses and registration ensure the public that a certain level of competency has been achieved to practice within a profession. Certainly, the unlawful practice of law should constitute a crime equivalent to the unauthorized practice of other professions.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-2012 Passed Senate (S.1998/A.5700) 2009-2010 Passed Senate (S.41/A.1643) 2007-2008 Passed Senate (S.2358/A.8563) 2005-2006 Passed Senate (S.1865/A.5169)
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of November after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1998--A Cal. No. 38 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 14, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. FUSCHILLO, AVELLA, DeFRANCISCO, HASSELL-THOMPSON, LARKIN, SALAND -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary -- recommitted to the Committee on Judiciary in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- reported favorably from said committee, ordered to first and second report, ordered to a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading AN ACT to amend the judiciary law, in relation to practicing or appear- ing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 478 of the judiciary law, as amended by chapter 201 of the laws of 1993, is amended to read as follows: S 478. Practicing or appearing as attorney-at-law without being admit- ted and registered. It shall be unlawful for any natural person to prac- tice or appear as an attorney-at-law or as an attorney and counselor-at- law for a person other than himself OR HERSELF in a court of record in this state, or to furnish attorneys or counsel or an attorney and coun- sel to render legal services, or to hold himself OR HERSELF out to the public as being entitled to practice law as aforesaid, or in any other manner, or to assume to be an attorney or counselor-at-law, or to assume, use, or advertise the title of lawyer, or attorney and counse- lor-at-law, or attorney-at-law or counselor-at-law, or attorney, or counselor, or attorney and counselor, or equivalent terms in any language, in such manner as to convey the impression that he OR SHE is a legal practitioner of law or in any manner to advertise that he OR SHE either alone or together with any other persons or person has, owns, conducts or maintains a law office or law and collection office, or office of any kind for the practice of law, without having first been duly and regularly licensed and admitted to practice law in the courts of record of this state, and without having taken the constitutionalEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00471-09-2 S. 1998--A 2
oath. Provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be held to apply (1) to officers of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, duly appointed, when exercising the special powers conferred upon such corporations under section fourteen hundred three of the not- for-profit corporation law; or (2) to law students who have completed at least two semesters of law school or persons who have graduated from a law school, who have taken the examination for admittance to practice law in the courts of record in the state immediately available after graduation from law school, or the examination immediately available after being notified by the board of law examiners that they failed to pass said exam, and who have not been notified by the board of law exam- iners that they have failed to pass two such examinations, acting under the supervision of a legal aid organization when such students and persons are acting under a program approved by the appellate division of the supreme court of the department in which the principal office of such organization is located and specifying the extent to which such students and persons may engage in activities otherwise prohibited by this statute; or (3) to law students who have completed at least two semesters of law school, or to persons who have graduated from a law school approved pursuant to the rules of the court of appeals for the admission of attorneys and counselors-at-law and who have taken the examination for admission to practice as an attorney and counselor-at- law immediately available after graduation from law school or the exam- ination immediately available after being notified by the board of law examiners that they failed to pass said exam, and who have not been notified by the board of law examiners that they have failed to pass two such examinations, when such students or persons are acting under the supervision of the state or a subdivision thereof or of any officer or agency of the state or a subdivision thereof, pursuant to a program approved by the appellate division of the supreme court of the depart- ment within which such activities are taking place and specifying the extent to which they may engage in activities otherwise prohibited by this statute and those powers of the supervising governmental entity or officer in connection with which they may engage in such activities; OR (4) AN ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR-AT-LAW OR THE EQUIVALENT WHO IS ADMITTED TO THE BAR IN ANOTHER STATE, TERRITORY, DISTRICT OR FOREIGN COUNTRY AND WHO HAS BEEN ADMITTED TO PRACTICE PRO HAC VICE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. S 2. Section 485 of the judiciary law, as added by chapter 1031 of the laws of 1965, is amended to read as follows: S 485. Violation of certain preceding sections a misdemeanor.
[Any]EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SECTION FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE-A OF THIS ARTI- CLE, ANY person violating the provisions of [sections]SECTION four hundred seventy-eight, four hundred seventy-nine, four hundred eighty, four hundred eighty-one, four hundred eighty-two, four hundred eighty- three or four hundred eighty-four OF THIS ARTICLE, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. S 3. The judiciary law is amended by adding a new section 485-a to read as follows: S 485-A. VIOLATION OF CERTAIN SECTIONS A CLASS E FELONY. ANY PERSON WHO VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-EIGHT, FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-FOUR, FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX OR FOUR HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE OF THIS ARTICLE IS GUILTY OF A CLASS E FELONY WHEN HE OR SHE: (1) EITHER IMPERSONATES AN ATTORNEY OR OFFERS LEGAL SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC UNDER A TITLE OTHER THAN ATTORNEY; AND (2) CAUSES ANOTHER PERSON TO SUFFER MONE- TARY LOSS OR DAMAGES EXCEEDING ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR OTHER MATERIALS. 1998--A 3
DAMAGE RESULTING FROM IMPAIRMENT OF A LEGAL RIGHT TO WHICH HE OR SHE IS ENTITLED ACCORDING TO LAW. S 4. Section 486 of the judiciary law, as added by chapter 1031 of the laws of 1965, is amended to read as follows: S 486. Practice of law by attorney who has been disbarred, suspended, or convicted of a felony. Any person whose admission to practice as an attorney and counselor-at-law has been revoked or who has been removed from office as attorney and counselor-at-law or, being an attorney and counselor-at-law, has been convicted of a felony or has been suspended from practice and has not been duly and regularly reinstated, who does any act forbidden by the provisions of this article to be done by any person not regularly admitted to practice law in the courts of record of this state, unless the judgment, decree or order suspending him shall permit such act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY SECTION FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE-A OF THIS ARTICLE. S 5. Subdivision 3 of section 495 of the judiciary law, as added by chapter 1031 of the laws of 1965, is amended to read as follows: 3. No voluntary association or corporation shall ask or receive directly or indirectly, compensation for preparing deeds, mortgages, assignments, discharges, leases, or any other instruments affecting real estate, wills, codicils, or any other instruments affecting disposition of property after death or decedents' estates, or pleadings of any kind in actions or proceedings of any nature. Any association or corporation violating the provisions of this subdivision is guilty of a misdemeanor UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY SECTION FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE-A OF THIS ARTICLE. S 6. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.