BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline) - Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced a settlement on Tuesday with the owner of a legal practice that allegedly practiced law without being licensed in the state of Idaho.
Ramon Martinez, the owner of Alianza Hispana Multiservice, allegedly violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act by engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Under the terms of the settlement, Martinez and Alianza Hispana agreed to reimburse Wasden's office for its attorney costs. If Martinez or his business fail to comply with the settlement, he will be subject to a $10,000 civil penalty.
"Often, people end up paying thousands of dollars to these non attorneys out of desperation or misunderstanding of the non attorney's ability to practice law in Idaho," Wasden said. "Unfortunately, most often their legal situation worsens and the cost of correcting the original issue balloons as a result of using these non attorneys."
Different legal systems and titles for legal professions in other countries can be confusing for many immigrants. In many countries, a notario public is an important legal position, but in the U.S., a notary public is a state-commissioned official with no authority to adjudicate legal rights. Some unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the confusion between the two terms, Wasden says.
The practice of law, which includes representation in court and the preparation of legal instruments, must be conducted by a licensed attorney in the state of Idaho.