Definition of giving legal advice in regards to a paralegal?

Following up on a previous question on here: Response: "A paralegal can not give legal advice." …A paralegal can prepare documents, and advise about laws, but cannot give legal advice.

Can you help me discern, in generalized terms, what is and what is not legal advice? For instance, a personal case could be presented to a paralegal, and he/she could do/say X but not do/say Y.

If it is a simple spelled out misdemeanor charge, would it even be worth hiring such an individual to help with this case?

Thanks

Legal advice means interpreting the law, or applying the law to a given set of facts.

So, for example, say the law read: "It is a misdemeanor to be caught in culpable possession of a narcotic". The paralegal could quote the statute, but couldn’t define "culpable possession" for you. The paralegal could also not analyze your particular facts and tell you whether the statute applied in your case. The paralegal also cannot tell you which court cases might help you, even though they could every court case that discussed that statute.

Another example. A paralegal could help you fill out a court form, but only by entering exactly what you tell them to enter. They cannot suggest what you should say, and cannot even advise you whether the form is appropriate in your case.

Doing either of those — interpreting or applying the law — counts as the unauthorized practice of law.

Post Author: mark

2 thoughts on “Definition of giving legal advice in regards to a paralegal?

    coragryph

    (February 17, 2010 - 6:12 pm)

    Legal advice means interpreting the law, or applying the law to a given set of facts.

    So, for example, say the law read: "It is a misdemeanor to be caught in culpable possession of a narcotic". The paralegal could quote the statute, but couldn’t define "culpable possession" for you. The paralegal could also not analyze your particular facts and tell you whether the statute applied in your case. The paralegal also cannot tell you which court cases might help you, even though they could every court case that discussed that statute.

    Another example. A paralegal could help you fill out a court form, but only by entering exactly what you tell them to enter. They cannot suggest what you should say, and cannot even advise you whether the form is appropriate in your case.

    Doing either of those — interpreting or applying the law — counts as the unauthorized practice of law.
    References :

    Melli

    (February 17, 2010 - 6:46 pm)

    Legal advice is generally defined as the assessment and application of principles of law to a particular factual situation. It involves the application of legal principles to facts in a manner that (1) in effect predicts a specific resolution of a legal issue or (2) directs, counsels, urges, or recommends a course of action by a disputant or disputants as a means of resolving a legal issue. Merely providing legal information is not considered legal advice. Legal advice generally involves suggesting or predicting a course of action based upon the evaluation of a person’s or entity’s particular legal situation.

    The following is an example of one state’s definition of legal advice:

    An attorney-client relationship exists and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever "one undertakes for compensation, direct or indirect, to advise another, not his regular employer, in any matter involving the application of legal principles to facts or purposes or desires."
    References :

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