Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law FAQs


What laws and rules govern matters coming before the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law?

Article IV, Section 2(B)(1)(g) provides the Supreme Court of Ohio with original jurisdiction over "admission to the practice of law, the discipline of persons so admitted, and all other matters relating to the practice of law." This jurisdiction includes authority over the unauthorized practice of law. Pursuant to this constitutional authority, the Court promulgated Rule VII of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio ("Unauthorized Practice of Law"), which governs unauthorized practice of law proceedings.

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What is the "unauthorized practice of law?"

For a definition of the "unauthorized practice of law," please go to Gov. Bar R. VII, Sec. 2(A). Please also note that the definition of the unauthorized practice of law is further developed on a case-by-case basis by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

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What do I do if I believe someone is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law?

You may contact either of the following:

Office of Disciplinary Counsel
65 E. State St., Suite 1510
Columbus OH 43215
614.461.0256 (telephone)
800.589.5256 (toll-free)
or

Your local bar association's unauthorized practice of law committee.

You may also send information regarding the alleged unauthorized practice of law to the Secretary of the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, 65 South Front Street, 5th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-3431. The Secretary will refer this information to either the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or a local bar association's unauthorized practice of law committee for investigation.

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What happens after the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or a local bar association's unauthorized practice of law committee receives information that someone might be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law?

They will conduct an investigation of the matter. If they determine there is probable cause to warrant a hearing, they will file a formal complaint with the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law.

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What happens after a formal complaint is filed with the Board?

The respondent (i.e., the person alleged to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law) will be given an opportunity to answer the complaint. Typically, the Board will schedule and hold a hearing on the matter. However, the parties may file a stipulation of facts and waive the hearing. After the hearing or review of the stipulation of facts, the Board may dismiss the matter; refer the matter back to the relator (i.e., Disciplinary Counsel or the local bar association's unauthorized practice of law committee); or, if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, file a report with the Supreme Court. The report will include the Board's findings, recommendations, transcript of testimony, if any, and an itemized statement of costs.

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What happens after the Board files its report with the Supreme Court?

The respondent and relator may file objections to the Board's report. If objections are filed, oral argument is scheduled before the Supreme Court. After a hearing on objections, or if objections are not filed within the prescribed time, the Supreme Court shall enter an order it finds proper.

If the Court finds that respondent's conduct constituted the unauthorized practice of law, the Court may prohibit respondent from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in the future and order respondent to make reimbursement of the costs and expenses incurred by the Board and relator.

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Where do I obtain additional information about the Board and the unauthorized practice of law?

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Secretary of the Board at the following address:

The Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law
65 South Front Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215.3431
614.387.9327 (telephone)
614.387.9529 (facsimile)

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