Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Pa. Ruling: Paralegals Can Represent Employers at Unemployment Compensation Hearings

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that non-attorneys can represent employers at unemployment compensation hearings (full text of the opinion). Decided on April 17, 2007, this case paves the way for paralegals to represent clients at administrative hearings and at smaller judicial proceedings. The opinion stated:

Simply stated, the character of the activities performed by representatives at unemployment hearings coupled with the informal nature of these proceedings, the minimal amounts at issue, and the long history of participation by non-lawyer representatives suggest that the public does not need the protection that serves as the basis for classifying certain activities to constitute the practice of law and that indeed, finding non-lawyer representatives to be engaging in the practice of law by acting in unemployment compensation proceedings would impose an unnecessary burden on the public.

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