Helping family members and friends with legal issues while not going through an attorney’s normal intake procedures is one of the quickest ways to get oneself in trouble.
A Colorado Attorney agreed to aid in negotiating a judgement obtained against his in-laws. The in-laws live in Minnesota where a judgement was obtained against them for $2368.13 in favor of a condominium association. The Colorado Attorney was not licensed in Minnesota.
The Colorado Attorney sent an e-mail to the Minnesota Attorney that represented the condo association stating that he was representing his in-laws in this matter and to send all future correspondence to him. A number of e-mails were sent back and forth on between the attorneys. The Minnesota Ethics panel got involved. The Minnesota Ethics panel stated that although he was not paid for the representation, he was practicing law in Minnesota without a license. He received an admonishment from Minnesota.
As always, attorneys should make sure that they follow the same procedures regarding client intake regardless of the relationship that the attorney has with the potential client. Getting involved with any matter when the attorney is not licensed in a state or not familiar with the type of law needed to address the matter may have consequences far beyond that “simple” matter.
In addition to the admonishment, this simple matter will raise the cost of the attorney’s malpractice rates.
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Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080