“Independent” Paralegals and UPL

I am still making my way through email that arrived while I was at the AAfPE Conference last week, but here is one that just recently arrived, perhaps in response to my referring to Martin Legal Services in this morning’s post. I am posting it in full to avoid the risk that I might alter its author’s meaning through misunderstanding or just editing. I have some thoughts on the topics raised in the email, but cannot take the time at the moment to make them all, so I will look for an opportunity to make them in one or more subsequent posts. I would like to hear what you have to say!

Hello Professor Mongue, this is Efrem B. Martin of www.martinparalegalserices.com I am writing you to give you an update as to what has transpired since I last spoke with you.  I am currently being investigated for Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) here in the State of Colorado.  After 25yrs of being a certified paralegal and having the educational and professional background experience, an Immigration Attorney by the name of Bryon Large attorney registration number #38574 here in Colorado feels threatened by me and sent an email to the Office Of Attorney Regulation in Colorado stating that I am in violation of UPL, I am now their target.  Now before I start this email remember that it was an attorney who reported me not a formal complaint filed by a citizen in Colorado that I have worked with in the past I want to make that perfectly clear.  Professor I really don’t care who you share this email with because I am going to fight this to the very end, even if I have to take it to the United States Supreme Court.  I am a former United States Marine (USMC) I took an oath to defend and protect my country against all “Foreign and Domestic Enemies”  and the American Bar Association is a domestic enemy. 
I received my Paralegal Training from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1984 and I helped defend the legal rights of every Marine not some and if the United States Marine Corps (USMC) had full confidence in me to handle the day to day legal affairs off all Marines from Officers, Generals to Enlisted Marines, I am sure that I am capable and qualified to work with Pro Se Litigants.  Let me give you further understanding about me, I have worked professionally in the Criminal Justice System my entire career over 20yrs not just as a Paralegal.  I have never been arrested or incarcerated in my 44yrs of living.  I have a BA in Criminal Justice & Economics, I obtained my Paralegal Certification from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1984, I have a very diversified background, I am more than just a paralegal.  I am a former State of Colorado Juvenile Probation Officer, former Paralegal Supervisor, former Investigative Assistant working with White Collar Crime, former High School Teacher, former Restorative Justice Coordinator with Middle School Children, I worked for a Law Firm as a Document Clerk & Paralegal, I also worked for a Private Solo Bankruptcy Attorney, I am not a rookie or a first round draft choice out of paralegal school, I am a seasoned veteran but that does not mean anything to the American Bar Association.  I have several problems with the American Bar Association and their continued unwillingness to address the real issues of Pro Se Litigants and the continued denial of fair and equal access to the Legal Services Industry.  Professor Mongue you know as well as I do that the American Bar Association is not interested in providing access to justice for all people, I have worked in the Criminal Justice System far to long and have witnessed the atrocities not heard stories from other people but have witness through my own personal and professional experience in how to gain access to the Legal Services Industry is impossible for those people who are poor and have no economy of scale in their favor.  I am not going to stand by and allow the American Bar Association or any other State Bar Association continue to support the hypocrisy that they say they are against for all people. 
The American Bar Association controls all the Paralegal Organizations in this country and that is for one reason only to have full control and continue to monopolize their very existence and keep them fearful.  As a Marine I learned that “FEAR” is the number one way to control people, if people are fearful of you then they won’t challenge you.  The American Bar Association has that fear in citizens and non-citizens in the United States of America, I see it and deal with it everyday.  I will never join any of the Paralegal Organizations in America because they are not about the Freedom of Choice or the Freedom of Pro Se Litigants rights in this country.  Paralegal organizations are a front and support all the decisions the Bar Associations give them and that is for one reason only.  Paralegal organizations are “Fearful” of the repercussions that the Bar Associations will hand down to them.  If I were a member of any Paralegal Organization right now they would abandon me and turn their backs on me, they would not support me in any manner and they would hand me directly over to the enemy The American Bar Association.  The American Bar Association does not want to talk about Race, Class, Economics and Social Status regarding people of color and poor people who are severely underrepresented in the court systems in this country this is a dead silence issue for The American Bar Association.  The American Bar Association does not support fair and equal access to justice for all people because this would mean that they would have to accept the reality of Race, Class, Economics and Social Status of all the citizens and non-citizens in this country.  I am tired of having the American Bar and all the State Bar Associations tell me what I can and cannot do, it is interesting to me that when I took my oath of becoming a Marine to defend this country I don’t remember it being that I would defend this county and the Constitution of the United States sometimes and for some of the citizens and non-citizens in this country, I put my life on the line so the American Bar and all State Bar Associations would preserve and support the choices, rights and freedoms of every citizen and non-citizen not some. 
The hypocrisy lays within all the Bar Associations and it offends me as a human being first, Marine second that I must now after 25yrs of loyalty to this legal profession go to court and defend myself and my actions of helping all people who do not have access to the courts in this country because the American Bar and State Bar Associations are accusing me of “Betrayal” to every citizen in this country that has a Constitutional Right in which I helped defend them to have.  I am offended on so many levels I don’t even know where to began, this is not about me in anyway, shape or form this is about the Constitution of the United States and is about the Freedom of Choice that all people who live in the United States of America have the Constitution guarantees this.  The Constitution is not a document that should ever be used against the American People it is what we live by and die by.  I will fight the American Bar and any other Bar Association for the Freedom of Choice that Pro Se Litigants have, I will never be dictated to by any Bar Association who I can and cannot help. I became a Paralegal in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1984, I received my Good Conduct Medal in 1987, I received my Honorable Discharge in 1988, I do not have to explain myself to any civilian who is a hypocrite and refuses to help all people access the court system in this country and who believes that I am beneath them.  I became a Paralegal to help all people, regardless of race, class, economic status, religion, beliefs, sexual orientation but most of all, all human beings period! 
The American people must abide by the laws of the land, the American Bar Association is not the Title Holder of the laws in this country, but for whatever reason they lost track of who they are, and have forgot that you work for the people in this country, the people don’t work for you and ultimately you will be held accountable to the American people.  The American Bar Association has a lock and monopoly on the Legal Services Industry, this is foul, unethical, immoral and shows their hypocrisy but more than anything else it goes against the Constitution that I put my life on the line for every citizen and non-citizen in this country.  I don’t need the validation of the American Bar Association or any other State Bar Association to tell me that Paralegals can only work for them and only work for Law Firms, or only work under the direction of an attorney that is a monopoly and hypocrisy.  The American Bar Association cannot justify to me or the American people that have been priced out of the Legal Services Industry that they care about all people.  In 25yrs of helping everyone who needed help in the Legal Services Industry I have never had a formal complaint filed on me or against me and the reason is because I am a human being first and treat and respect the freedom of choice that all citizens and non-citizens have.  So to come after me and try and coerce me into saying that I have practiced law and have put myself out there as an attorney practicing law is a direct attack on my integrity and self worth.  I will not allow the American Bar Association, The Office of Attorney Regulation in Colorado intimidate me and force me to give up my rights as the Constitution of the United States says that I have. 
People are tired of the nonsense, unethical, immorality and non-empathy of attorneys.  People are tired of being told that they must be represented by an attorney because Pro Se Litigants don’t know what they are doing.  Not everyone needs an attorney, not everyone is ignorant of the law, like the Bar Associations leads the American public to believe and think people are, not everyone wants to be in the presents of attorneys and this is called “Choice” the Freedom of Choice.  The American Bar Association and all State Bar Associations cannot continue to hide behind State Statutes and then use those State Statutes to justify their monopoly and reluctance to help all people gain access to the court system and then turn against the American people.  Attorneys can challenge me if they want, but they know that I am telling the truth because if I were not telling the truth, I would not be the subject of a UPL investigation.  I am done with this email. You can do whatever you like with this email. I will not run and hide and put my tail between my legs and roll over for anyone when it comes to standing up and protecting the Freedom of Choice for all people in this country.  I have children and if I am going to have them become decent human beings I must defend their Freedom of Choice or else they don’t stand a chance.  Thank you Professor Mongue
Efrem B. Martin BA, Certified Paralegal & Owner
Martin Paralegal Services LLC
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  • […] have received some responses to my post of Efrem Martin’s email on the Colorado State Bar Association’s charge that he is engaged in UPL. Here is on from the […]

  • maria nichols says:

    I totally agree with your coments, I have been helping people, to fight their rights, but always very fearful about the ABA I can see on this coutry needy people is crying out for their rights, I feel so bad, when the poor people, go to this attorneys and some of these aorneys, once they get their money, they do not work on their cases, and run them out of the offices, in some cases, the client do not even see the Attorney’s face, some atorneys do not iven bother to work in their cases, some atorneys never ever answer back a telephone to the clients,
    I have been working so may years to help people to defend their rights, I have to study Paralegal, so I can try to help them more, but I am always with fears, I wish I can help them more but as paralegas we feel with our hands tight up. it is so sad that the people do not have their choice to help people, just because Aba comes with more rlules, because of their rules, nobody gets affected but the needy people, because, they have to pay thousands to attorneys, that some of them do not iven work on their case,
    Any way, I just hope we as Independent paralegals, will have more freedom to help the needy, and if there is something i can do to help, please let me knowbecause the am
    american bar association, should not take over, affecting more and more he needy.

  • Nancy Lee says:

    What difference does it make anyway, the legal secretary does most of the work anyway in an attorney’s office. People just can’t afford to pay for an attorney and they have made back their college tuition 100 times over, I am sure and still charging outrageous fees.

  • JAMES CURRAN says:

    To: Martin Paralegal
    Re: Action against the ABA
    Semper-Fi. As an inactive Marine and a Paralegal who is working towards the position of an attorney I would like to invite you (if you have the OOOH- RAH) to join me in a unusual move. I read your story about the charges of UPL against you. I would like to ask, this attorney who complained can he name one person to whom you gave legal advice to? Can he show one document with your signature on it? These are the basic fundamentals for UPL
    I am working on putting together a file on the ABA that will show violations of Anti-Trust laws such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890), Sec. 2. Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor,… (this describes the ABA quite well) as well as Supreme Court cases against the ABA in which the ABA has yet to comply with the courts orders. (United States v. American Bar Association). Did you know that there are only 170 ABA approved law schools in the U.S., and that there are over 100,000 law school students turned away each year simply because the ABA schools are full? Yet the ABA refuses to loosen its grip on the legal profession. Then there is the ABA’s requirement for these schools to maintain exuberant tuition, with the average tuition running around 60,000 per year of school. What this exuberant tuition effectively accomplishes is the keeping the wealthy running the legal system.
    It is my plan to get as many paralegals and persons who have been denied the right to practice law simply because they didn’t attend an ABA school, as I can get to join me in filing formal complaints with the Trade Commission with as many violations as can be found. I learned in the Corps that if you spend all your time defending you will never advance.
    I believe it’s time to stop defending and to start attacking the root of the problem. I believe that if enough of us attack the Trade Commission at one time we will get their attention and we will be heard. This whole idea needs to go “viral” in the U.S. in order to work.
    If this sounds like something you may be interested in getting involved in, let me know. My E-mail: Yona1269@yahoo.com
    “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth”.
    “Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life”. John F. Kennedy
    “It is impossible to tell where the law stops and justice begins”. Bugs Baer

  • J.J. Lukas says:

    I, too, am a certified independent paralegal, with seven years of assisting clients under my proverbial belt. And I have even been investigated by the local police for UPL at the order of a judge — albeit a brand new circuit court judge in our county. As such, I fully support Martin & the general consensus stated above.

    Nevertheless, the first thing I noticed about this thread is that no one has cited case law regarding pro se litigants arguing to the Court for paralegal assistance during hearings. There has to be at least a few of these somewhere in the states! Let’s help each other in our own respective geographical locations by gathering some case law on this topic, regardless if the outcome was positive or negative. Let’s employ dialectics on bad decisions to find a way to win the argument next time it arises.

    Currently, a client of mine is filing a motion to specifically request my assistance during a civil (family law) trial. If granted, it will open the door in our little antiquated community; if denied, we appeal, and open the issue in a higher state court. Using the system itself to make the change is the only way to get this done.

    One of the main arguments we are presenting is that District Attorneys, Public Defenders, and private attorneys are able and allowed to utilize a paralegal during a trial or hearing (this should be relatively easy to prove), so why then would there even be an issue of a paralegal assisting a pro se litigant?

    If we look at this as a mathematical equation, it would read:
    Litigant + Lawyer + paralegal = access to adequate information and assistance to allow for fairness & justice to be carried out.

    Okay, now let’s economize that equation, since many people cannot afford lawyers:
    Litigant + paralegal = access to adequate information and assistance to allow for fairness & justice to be carried out.

    After all, generally, a pro se litigant may use the same tactics and tools that a licensed attorney can use. A lawyer merely represents a litigant.
    Why would an attorney have more rights during YOUR trial or hearing than you yourself have?!?

    I am hoping that my client’s case will be the springboard to get this issue in front of a higher court.
    WI SUP CT here we come!

  • […] The Empowered Paralegal.  Like Professor Mongue, I am still digesting the email he received from Efrem B. Martin of Martin Paralegal Services.  While I agree with some comments Mr. Martin makes concerning “FEAR” and I admire his passion […]

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