The unauthorized practice of law is engaging in the practice of law by persons or entities not authorized to practice law pursuant to state law or using the designations “lawyer,” “attorney at law,” counselor at law,” “law,” “law office,” “J.D.,” “Esq.,” or other equivalent words by any person or entity not authorized to practice, the use of which is reasonably likely to induce others to believe that the person or entity is authorized to engage in the practice of law in the state.
Laws vary by state. The following is an example of one state's definition of providing legal advice or services to another:
* Preparing any document in any medium intended to affect or secure legal rights for a specific person or entity;
* Preparing or expressing legal opinions;
* Representing another in a judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative proceeding, or other formal dispute resolution process such as arbitrations and mediations;
* Preparing any document through any medium for filing in any court, administrative agency or tribunal for a specific person or entity; or
* Negotiating legal rights or responsibilities for a specific person or entity.