Ohio Supreme Court Enters Injunction Against Unauthorized Practice of Law

In the case captioned, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association v. Hill, 2014-Ohio-5239, the Ohio Supreme Court entered an order enjoining a nonlawyer and his company from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

Hill was a retired police officer who formed the Advocacy Group which attempted to assist individuals who alleged that Bryant & Stratton College had engaged in a number of unlawful practices. 20 students signed up with Hill and the Advocacy Group.  Hill did not have a law license and had not attended law school.  The record contained evidence that on May 29, 2009, Hill attended a meeting with representatives of the school. During the meeting, Hill was accompanied by two attorneys and four students who had signed contracts with Hill and the Advocacy Group. In a deposition, Hill admitted that he attended the meeting to negotiate a settlement with the school. No settlement was reached at the meeting.

The Supreme Court affirmed findings that Hill and the Advocacy Group had entered into agreements with students to act as an “Attorney/Advocate” for them.  The Supreme Court enjoined Hill and the Advocacy Group from “further acts constituting the unauthorized practice of law, including but not limited to agreeing to represent clients in matters involving legal claims and attempting to negotiate the settlement of legal claims on behalf of others.  Hill and the Advocacy Group were fined $20,000.

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