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Law School Case Brief

The Fla. Bar v. Brumbaugh - 355 So. 2d 1186 (Fla. 1978)

Rule:

If the giving of such advice and performance of such services affect important rights of a person under the law, and if the reasonable protection of the rights and property of those advised and served requires that the persons giving such advice possess legal skill and a knowledge of the law greater than that possessed by the average citizen, then the giving of such advice and the performance of such services by one for another as a course of conduct constitute the practice of law.

Facts:

Marilyn Brumbaugh, a non-member of the state bar, typed legal forms, advised clients which legal forms they should use in an uncontested dissolution of marriage, and advised clients as to what legal procedures they should follow. The Florida Bar argued that Brumbaugh's activities constituted the unauthorized practice of law and moved for an injunction. 

Issue:

Did the acts of Brumbaugh constitute an unauthorized practice of law?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of Florida granted the irequest for an njunction, finding that while it was permissible for a person to sell legal forms, Brumbaugh exceeded her authority when she gave advice on the use of the forms and procedure. Because Brumbaugh's advice and performance affected important legal rights that required legal skill and a knowledge of the law, her actions constituted the unauthorized practice of law.

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