Elizabeth R. Blandon, Esq., has been appointed by the Supreme Court of Florida to serve on the local Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL) committee, effective August 1, 2010.
The purpose of the UPL program was best explained by the Supreme Court as follows:
The reason for prohibiting the practice of law by those who have not been examined and found qualified to practice is frequently misunderstood. It is not done to aid or protect members of the legal profession either in creating or maintaining a monopoly or closed shop. It is done to protect the public from being advised and represented in legal matters by unqualified persons over whom the judicial department can exercise little, if any, control in the matter of infractions of the Code of Conduct which, in the public interest, lawyers are bound to observe.
Unfortunately, foreigners -- who do not understand the American legal system and the obligations of immigration attorneys -- are easy targets for paralegals and notarios. As recently as last month, a scam artist was arrested for allegedly stealing thousands from the unwary. See the full story at this link.