Fake lawyers would face felony under SC bill

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COLUMBIA -- The nasty surprise of having a bogus divorce or phony will, drafted by a fake attorney from the Internet or a 1-800 phone number advertised on TV, may become less common in South Carolina.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved H. 3123 this week, which would make it a felony to pretend you're an attorney if you're not one. Also off limits: Practicing law in a courtroom without being a member of the S.C. Bar or without getting Supreme Court permission.

"People spend $400-$500 for divorce papers, thinking they've got something," said Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, "The court won't take them. There's no recourse."

Sen. Michael Rose, R-Summerville said he was hesitant to broaden the duties that only an attorney could perform, thereby giving lawyers a monopoly over more and more areas of people's lives. But he ultimately voted for the bill.

Sarita Chourey can be reached at (803) 727-4257 or sarita.chourey@morris.com.

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