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Legal Ethics/Unauthorized Practice of Law


Hi Mr. Friedman,

I saw your response to the unauthorized practice of law (UAP) question and wanted to pose a follow up question.

This past spring I earned my J.D., unlike most of my peers though I immediately enrolled in an LL.M. program. The status ambiguity between law student and lawyer has surprisingly  become increasingly difficult for me to determine.

First and foremost, am I even allowed to put the letters J.D. behind my name, or is even that privilege reserved for licensees in most jurisdictions?

My other question concerns a couple of potential teaching opportunities that were recently revealed to me (one of those overseas). Are such professional endeavors, albeit legal in nature, treated any differently? In other words, could a professional position consisting primarily of speaking to groups, apprising them of an overview of a particular doctrinal area (aka. teaching) be similarly treated as UAP in the same way as if I were advising a specific student about their personal legal problem?  

I realize that the vast majority of this is handled state-by-state, however I still would like to hear your general thoughts of what I should keep in mind going forward.

Thank you for your time and for your assistance.


First, Congratulations.

The issue of putting a J.D. next to your name is state dependent.  Some states allow the degree since you did earn it; however, some states hold that is the unauthorized practice of law to insinuate you can practice.  Generally, the term Esquire is held out as a licensed attorney.

I do not see any problem discussing your educational endeavors as a teacher or facilitator.  Discussing legal problems may very well get you into trouble if you provide any legal advice.

Again, congratulations on your achievement and good luck in the LLM program.

Very truly yours,

Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.

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Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.


I have been a practicing civil trial attorney since 1989 and have a master's degree in bioethics and a doctorate of philosophy in comparative ethics of law, medicine and business.

I am Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and am Certified as a Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation by the State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization.

I can answer questions dealing with general ethics principles, including legal ethics, medical ethics, bioethics and business ethics. I do not give legal advice over the internet.

For more information, you can view my website at WWW.EXPERTETHICS.COM


Experience in the area
I have been a practicing trial attorney since 1989 and I have a masters degree in bioethics and a doctorate of philosophy regarding comparative ethics.

Organizations belong to
State Bar of Arizona
State Bar of Colorado (inactive)
District of Columbia Bar (inactive)
Federal Bar
Licensed in Arizona District Court
Licensed in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Licensed in the United States Supreme Court
American Bar Association
National Board of Trial Advocacy
American Association for Justice
Arizona Trial Lawyers Association
American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
Kennedy Institute of Ethics
National Association of Realtors

Bachelor of Arts 1985
Juris Doctorate 1989
Master of Arts in Bioethics 2004
Doctorate of Philosphy 2006

Awards and Honors
Phi Beta Kappa
Multiple Who's Who

A list of my copyrighted publications and presentations is contained at WWW.EXPERTETHICS.COM

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