No librarian has ever been prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of law (UPL), but the concept still makes many librarians nervous. UPL occurs when someone who is not a licensed attorney helps another person with a legal matter, says Anthony Aycock, the instructional support services manager at the North Carolina Justice Academy and author of The Accidental Law Librarian. It's a concern for anyone working around the law, including paralegals and law librarians. Public librarians also need to be diligent about avoiding UPL when they interact with patrons who have legal questions. A network of law librarians is one of the best defenses against UPL, according to Orr. Public librarians can refer patrons to law libraries, and the librarians there will have a more detailed knowledge of patrons' legal questions. Law librarians can refer patrons to the legal assistance organizations in their states if necessary.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.