A new North Carolina law that goes into effect on October 1, 2011 provides a private cause of action for victims of the unauthorized practice of law (UPL), providing for damages and attorney fees.
Below is the text of the legislation:
§ 84-10.1. Private cause of action for the unauthorized practice of law.If any person knowingly violates any of the provisions of G.S. 84-4 through G.S. 84-6 or G.S. 84-9, fraudulently holds himself or herself out as a North Carolina certified paralegal by use of the designations set forth in G.S. 84-37(a), or knowingly aids and abets another person to commit the unauthorized practice of law, in addition to any other liability imposed pursuant to this Chapter or any other applicable law, any person who is damaged by the unlawful acts set out in this section shall be entitled to maintain a private cause of action to recover damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Hopefully, this new law will prevent individuals that do not hold the North Carolina State Bar Paralegal Certification from falsely claiming that they do.
The damages provision could hit violators where it really hurts: right in the pocketbook…assuming that individuals unethical enough to engage in UPL aren’t already judgment-proof.