31.0104 Unauthorized practice of law- Penalty.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 31.0104]

(a) It is unlawful for any person, association, firm or corporation to engage in or attempt to engage in the practice of law, or to do, attempt to do or offer to do any act constituting the practice of law, except to the extent such person, firm or association is licensed or authorized by the Chief Justice. Nothing in this section authorizes licensing of a corporation to practice law.

(b) A person, association, firm or corporation who violates this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

History: 1970, PL II-111, amd l980, PL 16-90 § 84.

Amendments: 1980 Amended to conform with penalties provided for in Title 46, Criminal Justice.

Case Notes:

One who is not licensed to practice law but who attempts to represent another person in court, by taking a pro forma assignment of an interest in the subject matter giving rise to litigation and appearing as a pro se plaintiff, thereby engages in the unauthorized practice of law. A.S.C.A. § 31.0104. Parisi v. Parisi, 10 A.S.R.2d 106 (1989).

Attorney licensed in another jurisdiction, who in the course of providing legal services to a client took a pro forma assignment of a judgment belonging to the client and entered a court appearance in the guise of a pro se plaintiff without applying for admission pro hac vice, engaged in unauthorized practice of law. A.S.C.A. § 31.0104; H.C.R. 145. Parisi v. Parisi, 10 A.S.R.2d 106 (1989).

While "practice of law" is a general term, it is sufficiently definite that its employment in a criminal statute satisfies the demands of due process. A.S.C.A. § 31.0104. Pene v. American Samoa Government, 12 A.S.R.2d 43 (1989).

"Practice of law" includes legal representation of another in court or in settlement negotiations with opposing attorneys. A.S.C.A. § 31.0104. Pene v. American Samoa Government, 12 A.S.R.2d 43 (1989).

Evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of unauthorized practice of law where it was established that appellant filed a memorandum in a criminal case containing legal argument offered on behalf of the defendant. A.S.C.A. § 31.0104. Pene v. American Samoa Government, 12 A.S.R.2d 43 (1989).

Evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of unauthorized practice of law where appellant had written letters on behalf of a convicted prisoner stating that defendant was prepared to bring a civil action on behalf of the prisoner "pro se," and proposing a settlement which defendant termed "my personal offer and compromise." A.S.C.A. § 31.0104. Pene v. American Samoa Government, 12 A.S.R.2d 43 (1989).