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March 15, 2010
Supreme Court Seeks Public Comment on Unauthorized Practice of Law Changes

Under changes proposed to the Supreme Court of Ohio Rule governing the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL), the Ohio Attorney General would be authorized to investigate and prosecute certain complex UPL cases. The Supreme Court will accept public comment until April 13 on the proposed amendments. Justices concurred 7-0 in publishing the amendments for public comment.

If amended, Section 2 of Rule VII of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio would provide caseload assistance for the volunteer attorneys who investigate and prosecute UPL cases on behalf of bar associations, according to Michelle Hall, Attorney Services Counsel at the Supreme Court. She anticipated that if the Court adopts the proposed amendments, the Attorney General’s Office would prosecute one or two complex UPL cases annually. The current rule only authorizes Disciplinary Counsel and bar associations with UPL committees to initiate UPL cases.

Other proposed changes to Rule VII include:

The proposed amendments also call for one change to Gov.Bar R. VI (Registration of Attorneys) since the revised definition of UPL would identify the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline as the proper venue for UPL complaints against suspended attorneys. (Gov.Bar R. VI currently says a suspended attorney may be referred for investigation to the UPL board.)

Read the text of the proposed amendments to Gov. Bar R. VII.

Read the text of the proposed amendments to Gov. Bar R. VI.

Comments on the amendments should be submitted in writing to:

Michelle Hall, Attorney Services Counsel
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 S. Front St., Fifth Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
or michelle.hall@sc.ohio.gov

Contact: Chris Davey or Bret Crow at 614.387.9250.