Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ohio Supreme Court advisory opinions

The Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline this past October 7th. for the first time addressed Professional Conduct Rule 5.5 (Unauthorized practice of law; multijurisdictional practice of law), which took effect back in 2007, deciding that "out-of-state debt settlement lawyers are not authorized to provide legal services on a temporary basis to Ohio clients."

Section (c) of the rule contains "safe harbors" that permit an out-of-state lawyer to provide legal services in Ohio temporarily, the Board said, but, in applying the "reasonable relationship" factors found in the comments to Rule 5.5, concluded that allowing the multijurisdictional practice at issue would not serve the interests of clients and public when the "matters are not connected to the lawyers' home state of admission, there is not a pre-existing relationship between the lawyers and the Ohio clients, and the lawyers do not have a recognized expertise in a particular body of federal, nationally-uniform, foreign, or international law that is applicable to the consumer debt matters." [ Announcement and Advisory Opinion 2011-2 ]

Also on October 7th., the Court's Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law outlined activities non-attorneys can and cannot engage in concerning Medicaid benefits.

Opinion UPL 11-01 says in essence non-attorneys may review documents, prepare and file Medicaid applications and attend state hearings on behalf of an individual "to the extent that those activities are authorized by federal law," but draws the line for non-attorneys at performing "Medicaid planning" for current and prospective nursing-home patients and/or their families regarding qualification for Medicaid benefits "if it requires specialized legal training, skill, and experience." [Announcement]

No comments: