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Tag Archives: Unauthorized Practice of Law

Administrative – Unauthorized Practice of Law – Injunction – Prepaid Legal Service Plans – Online Legal Document Preparation – Website – Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies – Equal Protection – Commercial Disparagement – Monopoly – More Developed Record (access required)

LegalZoom.com, Inc. v. The North Carolina State Bar (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-15-0281, 26 pp.) (James L. Gale, J.) 2014 NCBC 9 Holding: Plaintiff, LegalZoom.com, Inc., has failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. Accordingly, its motion for partial judgment on the ...

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Attorneys – Unauthorized Practice of Law – Civil Practice – Declaratory Judgment Action – Prepaid Legal Services Plan – Registration (access required)

LegalZoom.com, Inc. v. North Carolina State Bar One of plaintiff’s claims seeks a declaration as to what statutory powers the State Bar has when there has been no final court determination with regard to an alleged unauthorized practice of law. The complaint adequately states a claim for a declaratory judgment as to the scope of the State Bar’s powers. The State Bar’s motion to dismiss is denied as to this claim.

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Legislature attacks unauthorized practice of law (access required)

It isn’t every day a new cause of action comes along, but June 16 was one of them. That was the day both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 349, which provides a private cause of action to consumers who can show they were harmed by the unauthorized practice of law. As of press time, the bill had not been signed into law by Gov. Bev Perdue, but a spokesperson for the governor said it is one of several bills the governor is considering. Some attorneys say the legislation provides an opportunity for attorneys to prosecute claims on behalf of aggrieved clients, particularly those involved in real estate transactions.

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LegalZoom now partnering with lawyers and firms (access required)

LegalZoom has launched a partnership with lawyers and law firms that could make it the largest law firm in the United States, according to one observer. Florida attorney Richard Granat wrote in his e-lawyering blog on Jan. 5 that LegalZoom may be seeking to link "its marketing capabilities to a network of law firms that offer legal services under the LegalZoom brand." LegalZoom Vice President and General Counsel Chas Rampenthal (pictured) confirmed that LegalZoom is "testing concepts that would connect our marketing strength with a network of law firms."

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Allegations leveled against driving school (access required)

The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into alleged improprieties at the Safety and Health Council of North Carolina, a nonprofit organization that offers defensive driving courses in 54 counties in the state. The investigation in Mecklenburg County was confirmed by an attorney who represents a former employee of the driving school who was terminated in September. The employee's name is Cathey Byrd.

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LegalZoom: Scourge or partner? Depends whom you ask (access required)

Gregory Herman-Giddens was at the annual meeting of the Chatham County Chamber of Commerce when a young woman approached him. "She said she had a 2-year-old daughter and a second child on the way," Herman-Giddens said. "She said she needed to get a will done and was thinking of doing it online. She asked me what I thought about that." The Chapel Hill estate-planning attorney admitted that he was biased. "But when you think of what your family is worth to you and the money you spend to make sure your children are well-cared-for, yet you choose the very cheapest method of providing for the future financial protection of your children instead of spending a few hundred dollars and going to an expert, that is shortsighted," he said.

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