Paralegal charged with performing attorney duties settles

John O'Brien May 13, 2008, 1:12pm


RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York attorneys -- and those who impersonate them -- may be living in fear of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo on Tuesday reached a settlement with Arthur Chisholm, charged with operating an unlicensed law practice in Lindenhurst, that will require him to pay restitution to his former customers and $17,000 in penalties and costs to the state.

Chisolm is not an attorney, though he represented as a paralegal when he prepared work on wills, evictions and divorces, Cuomo said. He added that he performed duties outside of the scope of a paralegal.

"New Yorkers in need of legal representation expect to be able to hire qualified attorneys with the requisite training and background," Cuomo said.

"Those who are unqualified to practice law and attempt to go beyond their legally permitted boundaries do not only a disservice to the consumers they 'represent,' but also the entire profession."

One of Cuomo's main quests this year has been a statewide investigation into attorneys who received public benefits because they were put on the payrolls of school systems.

Recently, two attorneys settled those allegations with Cuomo. He has subpoenaed information on 70 upstate attorneys and 20 Long Island attorneys.

His undercover investigation into Chisolm started in November. Anyone who thinks they were defrauded by Chisolm can attempt to join in the settlement.

From Legal Newsline: John O'Brien can be reached via e-mail at

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