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The Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee v. Walton

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 20, 2018

THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW COMMITTEE, WYOMING STATE BAR, Petitioner,
v.
JOSEPHINE K. WALTON, President of Wyoming Credit Association, a Wyoming corporation, Respondent.

          ORDER APPROVING CONSENT AGREEMENT

          E. JAMES BURKE, Chief Justice

         [¶1] This matter came before the Court upon a "Report and Recommendation for Approval of Consent Agreement, " filed herein June 4, 2018, by the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of the Wyoming State Bar (the Committee). After a careful review of the Committee's Report and Recommendation, the attached "Consent Agreement, " the materials attached thereto, and the file, this Court finds that the Report and Recommendation should be approved, confirmed and adopted by the Court, and that the parties' Consent Agreement should be approved, pursuant to Rule 7(e) of the Rules of Procedure Governing Unauthorized Practice of Law. It is, therefore, [¶2] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee's "Report and Recommendation for Approval of Consent Agreement, " which is attached hereto and incorporated herein, shall be, and the same hereby is, approved, confirmed, and adopted by this Court; and it is further

         [¶3] ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the parties' "Consent Agreement" be, and hereby is, accepted by this Court and the terms of the Consent Agreement are hereby adopted.

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGREEMENT

         THIS MATTER having come before the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (the "Committee") upon the motion of Bar Counsel for approval of a Consent Agreement in the above-captioned matter, and the Committee having considered the matter and being fully advised in the premises, finds, concludes and recommends:

         1. The investigation in the above-captioned matter was initiated by Bar Counsel following receipt of a report from the Honorable Joseph B. Bluemel, Third Judicial District Court Judge, that Respondent, the president of Wyoming Credit Association, a Wyoming corporation ("WCA"), a collection agency located in Evanston, Wyoming, may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by representing WCA in a collection action in Judge Bluemel's court.

         2. Rule 7, Rules Governing the Wyoming State Bar and the Authorized Practice of Law, provides in relevant part:

Rule 7. Authorization to practice law.
(a) The following persons are authorized to practice law in Wyoming:
(1) Members of the Wyoming State Bar, as more fully delineated and subject to the limitations set forth in the Bylaws of the Wyoming State Bar;
(2) Attorneys who have been granted pro hac vice admission as provided in Rule 8, subject to the limitations set forth in that rule;
(3) Law school clinic supervising attorneys meeting the qualifications of Rule 9, subject to the limitations set forth in that rule;
(4) Law students meeting the qualifications of Rule 9, subject to the limitations set forth in that rule; and
(5) Attorneys meeting the qualifications of Rule 5.5(d) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct, subject to the limitations set forth in that rule.
(b) "Practice law" means providing any legal service for any other person, firm or corporation, with or without compensation, or providing professional legal advice or services where there is a client relationship of trust or reliance, including appearing as an advocate in a representative capacity; drafting pleadings or other documents; or performing any act in a representative capacity in connection with a prospective or pending proceeding before any tribunal. ***

         3. Following receipt of Bar Counsel's letter of inquiry, Respondent's counsel contacted Bar Counsel and advised that Respondent was willing to enter into a consent agreement as provided in Rule 5(f) of the Rules of Procedure Governing Unauthorized Practice of Law Proceedings (the "UPL Rules"), which states:

(f) If, after conducting an investigation. Bar Counsel believes that the respondent has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, Bar Counsel may ...

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