Businesses have increased their use of arbitration provisions leading to an ever-increasing number of claims ultimately resolved through arbitration. This increase is due in large part to the relative speed and costs savings of arbitration when compared to traditional litigation. As always, changes from traditional to modern paradigms bring with them new considerations. ADR is no different. One of the major considerations centers on just who can advocate on behalf of the parties. There is a question as to whether parties seeking to arbitrate their civil dispute will need legal counsel to present their case in an arbitration forum properly.
This article will address the unauthorized practice of law in arbitrations. The statutes and case law related to the unauthorized practice of law are designed to answer the question of who can advocate on behalf of the parties in arbitration. Specifically, the cases and statutes set the boundaries with respect to whether one must in fact be a lawyer to represent parties or whether lawyers can cross state lines and represent parties in states in which the lawyer is not a member of that state’s bar.