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Solo In Chicago

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Unauthorized Practice of Law...It's Now More Than

Just us lawyers standing around and yelling about it. The Illinois Attorney Act (705 ILCS 205/1) has been amended to actually allow for the recovery of damages ($$) against nonlawyers doin' stuff only lawyers can do.

The new law creates statutory remedies for the unauthorized practice of law (UPL), including: a) appropriate equitable relief; b) a civil penalty up to $5k with monies going to the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation; and, c) actual damages.

From the Illinois Bar Journal:

How can lawyers use this legislation?

This legislation will help people who have been harmed by nonlawyers who performed legal services on their behalf. They may now seek equitable relief, actual damages, and civil penalties on behalf of injured clients under the Attorney Act. This Act will make it easier for injured individuals to seek relief because no separate negligence action will have to be filed.

Additionally, lawyers may choose to bring actions on behalf of their clients upon learning of non-lawyers holding themselves out as able to practice law, or of instances in which the act of unauthorized practice has already occurred. Under Richard F. Mallen & Asso, Ltd v MyInjuryClaim.com Corp,27 the appellate court held that both Illinois licensed lawyers and law firms have standing to file a cause of action seeking to enjoin another from UPL.28


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