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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JimiBob
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JimiBob 04/23/09 - 07:52 am
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This is breaking news from

This is breaking news from sc?. You guys already have judges who have never been to law school who are grandmothered/grandfathered in. Pat Hardaway in columbia county is a probate judge who has never been to law school, and this also includes magistrate judges. Kinda like a doctor ruling whether or not you have cancer and he/she has never been to med school. Kinda backwards...don't ya think?

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/23/09 - 08:39 am
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The SC lawyers are very well

The SC lawyers are very well organized and will do everything they can to stop all but "qualified" lawyers take legal action. While there are times a lawyer is needed, there are also times they aren't needed. If they wish to stop "phony" lawyers, set up an advice clinic that can be accessed by anyone. The "phonies" will be out of business.

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 04/23/09 - 09:55 am
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It seems that South Carolina

It seems that South Carolina is now trying to join the 21st century. What I gather from this article is, that up until now, that one could present himself as an attorney in South Carolina, practice law in the South Carolina court system, and never have a thing to worry about. Am I correct? I was under the impression that it was a felony to pass oneself off as a member of any profession that requires professional licensure. That includes doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, securities and investment specialist, and police officers. As for elected officials, I have never understood how any one can be elected as a tax commissioner and not know one thing about accounting or taxation.There is also a probate judge in Mcduffie county that has no prior legal experience.

areyoukiddinme
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areyoukiddinme 04/23/09 - 11:17 am
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And a municipal court judge,

And a municipal court judge, and two magistrate judges in McDuffie.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/23/09 - 12:15 pm
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It's time for the laymen

It's time for the laymen judges to move on. At one time barbers could perform surgery on customers, also.

jboy
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jboy 04/23/09 - 12:18 pm
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Requirements to be a Probate

Requirements to be a Probate Judge in Georgia in any County with less than 96,000 population is 25 years old, High School grad, U.S. Citizen and have to reside in county for 2 years prior to election. For counties greater than 96,000 you have to have the above qualifications and be age 30 with 7 years of law practice. For Magistrate Judges statewide you have to be 25 years old, U.S. Citizen, high school diploma or equivalent, and be a resident of said county for 1 year prior to be elected or appointed.

areyoukiddinme
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areyoukiddinme 04/23/09 - 01:47 pm
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I'm sure the requirements are

I'm sure the requirements are met, but it just sounds funny letting someone who isn't a lawyer be a judge.... There's more requirements to be a probation officer than there is for the person (judge) that puts people on probation! LOL.

spartan22
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spartan22 04/23/09 - 05:04 pm
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For counties greater than

For counties greater than 96,000 you have to have the above qualifications and be age 30 with 7 years of law practice. HAHAHAA
lemme guess for towns under 25k you need only have a drivers license, no HS education, and hellno law experience. I am impressed with GA's bogus laws. Residency?? Residency?? c'mon
LOL

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