Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Practice of Law Definition:

The giving of legal advice or of representation of another as agent in a court of law or through rules of court, or in the preparation of legal documents or in dispute or contractual negotiation.

The exercise of the profession of barrister, solicitor, attorney or lawyer.

The Juris Corpus Secundum defines the practice of law as follows:

"The practice of law is the doing or performing of services in a court of justice, in any matter pending therein, throughout its various stages, and in conformity with the adopted rules of procedure, but it is not confined to performing services in a proceeding in the court, and includes preparation of legal instruments."

In statute, where defined, as in this example taken from British Columbia (Canada) Legal Profession Act (2010), at §1(1), which statute also creates the offence of the unauthorized practice of law by persons who are not members of the Law Society of British Columbia:

"Practice of law includes:

Appearing as counsel or advocate,

(b) Drawing, revising or settling (i) a petition, memorandum, notice of articles or articles under the Business Corporations Act, or an application, statement, affidavit, minute, resolution, bylaw or other document relating to the incorporation, registration, organization, reorganization, dissolution or winding up of a corporate body, (ii) a document for use in a proceeding, judicial or extrajudicial, (iii) a will, deed of settlement, trust deed, power of attorney or a document relating to a probate or letters of administration or the estate of a deceased person, (iv) a document relating in any way to a proceeding under a statute of Canada or British Columbia, or (v) an instrument relating to real or personal estate that is intended, permitted or required to be registered, recorded or filed in a registry or other public office,

(c) Doing an act or negotiating in any way for the settlement of, or settling, a claim or demand for damages,

(d) Agreeing to place at the disposal of another person the services of a lawyer,

(e) Giving legal advice,

(f) Making an offer to do anything referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e), and

(g) making a representation by a person that he or she is qualified or entitled to do anything referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e),

But does not include

(h) Any of those acts if not performed for or in the expectation of a fee, gain or reward, direct or indirect, from the person for whom the acts are performed,

(i) The drawing, revising or settling of an instrument by a public officer in the course of the officer's duty,

(j) The lawful practice of a notary public,

(k) The usual business carried on by an insurance adjuster ...., or

(l) Agreeing to do something referred to in paragraph (d), if the agreement is made under a prepaid legal services plan or other liability insurance program."


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