The Birth of the Movement to Prohibit the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Rigertas, Laurel A.
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Despite its omnipresence in the field, there is no comprehensive history of the legal profession's effort to prohibit the unauthorized practice of law ("UPL"), by persons or entities who do not have a license to engage in such work. Drawing on original historical research, this article provides the most comprehensive view, to date, of the birth of the modem movement to prohibit the unauthorized practice of law. While bar associations' efforts to prohibit the unauthorized practice of law exploded nationwide in the 1930s, they sowed the seeds for the movement during the several decades preceding the Great Depression. Focusing on the work of the Illinois and New York bar associations in the late 1800s and early 1900s, this article chronicles how newly formed bar associations first began to address their concerns about the unauthorized practice of law. Their efforts eventually led to a well-established separation of powers principle that state courts--not state legislatures--have the inherent power to regulate the practice of law, which came to include the power to define the practice of law.