LegalZoom sued the N.C. State Bar one day before a new law went into effect that allows a new cause of action against unauthorized practitioners. But the company says that was coincidence – not the impetus for the suit. LegalZoom general counsel Chas Rampenthal (pictured) said the new cause of action doesn’t apply to LegalZoom because the company is not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The company sued the Bar, he said, because the agency refused to withdraw a public cease-and-desist letter it sent LegalZoom three years ago and because it refuses to register the company’s prepaid legal service plans. In its suit, LegalZoom alleged that the impression that it engages in the unauthorized practice of law was fostered, at least in part, by the Bar’s May 5, 2008 cease-and-desist letter. That letter, LegalZoom alleged, has disparaged its name and caused it “incalculable” economic harm.
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