Unauthorized Practice of Law

There’s a curious case making the rounds today involving a top law school, its LL.M. program, and a convicted con man.

Mauricio Celis was convicted in 2009 for pretending to be a lawyer in Texas. Celis said that he was barred in Mexico but authorities contended that he was not, though Celis maintains his innocence.

In any event, after his conviction for unauthorized practice of law, he went to get an LL.M. After he enrolled, paid money, and spent months in the program, the school found out about his conviction and expelled him before graduation. After expulsion, Celis essentially filed an Adam Sandler-style lawsuit against the school, arguing that this was news that could have been brought to his attention yesterday.

While most of the internet is reacting with antipathy towards Celis, I’m going to defend the man. If schools weren’t so desperate to cash in on foreigners through expensive LL.M programs, they might have noticed the easily available public information about Celis’s past…

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No, Professor Jacobson, you won’t be getting her scalp.

Yesterday we mentioned the latest issue to arise in the contentious Massachusetts Senate race between incumbent Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned political candidate and national celebrity. On his blog, Legal Insurrection, Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School effectively accused Warren of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts.

Are the accusations valid? Let’s hear from some experts — and from you, through a pair of reader polls….

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You didn’t bill that — unless you have a valid law license, right?

One of the most exciting U.S. Senate races this fall is the battle taking place in Massachusetts between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Even though my personal politics are closer to those of Brown — a moderate, socially liberal Republican — I must admit to a weakness for Warren.

How could I not love Liz Warren? She’s a Harvard Law School professor, a brilliant legal mind. She’s a fabulous, fierce female; even her critics concede that she’s a formidable foe. And thanks to her viral video and her star turn at the DNC, she’s a national celebrity. The Brown campaign has tried to use this against her, but not very effectively. After watching this Scott Brown ad, I just wanted to vote for Warren even more.

According to the latest polling data, Warren holds a slight lead. But could that edge be eroded by the latest controversy, concerning whether Warren has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law?

Let’s check out the allegations, which are being leveled against Brown by a Cornell law professor….

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