law office legal advice lawyers Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe apologize if we seem a little fixated on Atlanta these days. They seem to have a lot going on down there (even though it’s not all good).
From the Fulton County Daily Report (which we’ve been reading a lot lately, despite that obscure-sounding name):

Horace “Hod” Nalle has been general counsel for Merial, a Duluth-based worldwide animal health pharmaceutical producer and marketer, since the company’s inception in 1997. But Nalle hasn’t had an active legal license since 2000, when he asked the State Bar of Pennsylvania to move him to inactive status. This year, he drew attention to his situation when he applied to return to active status — a request that is pending in Pennsylvania.

Speaking to the Fulton County Daily Report, Nalle said he has done nothing wrong and that the problem — one agreed upon by legal ethics professors and the general counsel of Georgia’s bar — is how to distinguish between legal and business advice.

Excuse us for thinking that a general counsel provides legal advice — i.e., counsel.

[Nalle] said the only legal advice he may have given would have been for his own company. “There is no injury. There is no injured party,” Nalle said.

Well, okay, assuming Nalle hasn’t given bad legal advice. But under that reasoning, does that mean that practicing lawyers don’t have to be admitted in the jurisdiction(s) in which they practice, as long as they don’t commit malpractice?
We have a solution. If he’s maintaining that he’s not giving legal advice (except beyond some de minimis level), why doesn’t Nalle just change his title to “General Counselor”? Like Dan Bartlett, former Counselor to the President, who is not a lawyer (unlike Fred Fielding, White House Counsel).
Or maybe the best comparison is to being a high school guidance counselor. They don’t give legal advice, right?
GC Without a Bar License Defends His Status [Fulton County Daily Report]


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