From Legal Advice
Hawaii State Library
We Give Legal Information
Federal Documents Section Disclaimer:
The Federal Document Section staff will assist patent searchers by
providing instructions in the use of various search tools available in the
section. Only preliminary patent and trademark searches can be conducted
with the resources located at the Federal Documents Section. The section
staff is not qualified to give legal advice of any kind, including interpreting
laws and regulations; performing searches for users; or offering opinions
about the search strategy effectiveness. No conclusions should be inferred
concerning the validity of any patent, design or trademark from any
assistance provided by the library staff.
Anyone wishing further assistance will be directed to a list of registered
patent attorneys and agents who have specialized knowledge and
experience in conducting patent or trademark searches. This roster contains
current information filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Not all
attorneys and agents listed on this roster will service new public clients.
Selected Duties At Fed Docs
We search different intellectual properties:
– Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights
We give away federal income tax forms
We use U.S. Code, Code of Federal
Regulations, Statutes At Large, and other
legal research sources
We help fill out passport application forms
as qualified Passport Acceptance Agents
Why We Are Not Attorneys
An attorney, representing a client, has
a duty to that client
An attorney giving legal advice to that
client is liable for the information
If that duty is neglected and harm is
caused, the client can sue for
What is Legal Information?
Uses standard tools and resources
Does not address specific or
Legal Information Examples
Where can I get a tax form?
What does this acronym mean?
Where can I find the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
What Can Librarians Do?
Librarians can assist in locating
resources that discuss legal
Librarians may provide basic
instruction on how to use
What is Legal Advice?
Requires legal knowledge,
education, skill and judgment
Applies specific law to a particular
Affects someone’s legal rights or
Legal Advice Examples
Which tax form do I need?
Can I use these drawings in my
How do I protect my business
Proposed Legal Advice Guide
A task-oriented approach to avoid performing
duties that are “lawyerly” such as:
– Selecting or filling out forms
– Interpreting rules as they
apply to specific situations
– Speculating on outcome
What is the practice of law?
The "practice of law" is the
application of legal principles and
judgment with regard to the
circumstances or objectives of a
person that require the knowledge
and skill of a person trained in the
ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Task Force on the Model
Definition of the Practice of Law (Draft 9/18/02)
What is Unauthorized
Practice of Law (UPL)?
Proposed model definition put forth by the American
Bar Association was never adopted
In every state (except Arizona) there is a statute
Interpretations vary by jurisdiction
Lack of a uniform definition creates confusion and
misunderstanding, particularly among non-lawyers
It is not the librarians’ responsibility to define what
constitutes UPL, as that would itself be interpreting
the law, and hence UPL
Hawaii Revised Statute
HRS Vol. 13 § 605-14
Unauthorized practice of law prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association,
or corporation to engage in or attempt to engage in
or to offer to engage in the practice of law, or to do
or attempt to do or offer to do any act constituting the
practice of law, except and to the extent that the
person, firm, or association is licensed or authorized
so to do by an appropriate court, agency, or office or
by a statute of the State or of the United States.
Interpreting legal materials, such as
statutes, rules, and case law questions
Informing patrons how to correct errors or
omissions on legal forms
Informing a person of his legal rights
regarding a specific situation
Recommending a specific attorney or law
Red Flag Caution Words
What are my OPTIONS?
What does this MEAN?
What would YOU do?
Do you THINK this is a problem?
I know you are not a lawyer, BUT…
You can TELL me, I’ll TELL no one.
Answers To Avoid
The law says . . .
Based on your situation . . .
You really need to . . .
That means . . .
This applies [or doesn’t apply] to
Phrases To Steer Patrons
Do you have a specific CITATION?
Let me help you find the source.
Are you familiar with the Internet? I
would be happy to show you their
I could teach you how to find answers
to your questions using our print
and electronic resources.
Any Final Questions?
Don’t forget to fill out an
evaluation form and mahalo
for coming to this session