Former Rules

Former Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 5.5--Unauthorized Practice of Law

This Rule governed the practice of law in the District of Columbia from January 1, 1991, through January 31, 2007. As of February 1, 2007, the Amended Rules took effect.

A lawyer shall not:
   (a) Practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction; or
   (b) Assist a person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

Comment

   [1] The definition of the practice of law is established by law and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Whatever the definition, limiting the practice of law to members of the bar protects the public against rendition of legal services by unqualified persons. Paragraph (b) does not prohibit a lawyer from employing the services of paraprofessionals and delegating functions to them, so long as the lawyer supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for their work. See Rule 5.3. Likewise, it does not prohibit lawyers from providing professional advice and instruction to nonlawyers whose employment requires knowledge of law; for example, claims adjusters, employees of financial or commercial institutions, social workers, accountants and persons employed in government agencies. In addition, a lawyer may counsel nonlawyers who wish to proceed pro se.