Recognizing Legal Information From Legal Advice


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Hawaii State Library
Federal Documents Section
Stewart Chun

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Recognizing Legal Information From Legal Advice

  1. 1. Recognizing Legal Information From Legal Advice Stewart Chun Federal Documents Section Hawaii State Library
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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 malpractice
  5. 5. What is Legal Information? Factual Generic Uses standard tools and resources Does not address specific or particular circumstances
  6. 6. 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?
  7. 7. What Can Librarians Do? Librarians can assist in locating resources that discuss legal practice Librarians may provide basic instruction on how to use these materials
  8. 8. What is Legal Advice? Requires legal knowledge, education, skill and judgment Applies specific law to a particular circumstance Affects someone’s legal rights or responsibilities
  9. 9. Legal Advice Examples Which tax form do I need? Can I use these drawings in my brochure? How do I protect my business logo?
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. Questions?
  12. 12. 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 law. ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law (Draft 9/18/02)
  13. 13. 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 prohibiting UPL  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
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. UPL Examples 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 firm
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. Answers To Avoid The law says . . . Based on your situation . . . You really need to . . . That means . . . This applies [or doesn’t apply] to you
  18. 18. Phrases To Steer Patrons Towards Resources 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 website. I could teach you how to find answers to your questions using our print and electronic resources.
  19. 19. Any Final Questions? Don’t forget to fill out an evaluation form and mahalo for coming to this session 