Monday, November 26, 2007

Unauthorized Practice Does Not Void Decision

The Missouri Supreme Court recently held that the Division of Employment Security ("DES") must be represented by counsel in an appeal of its decision to require an employer to pay employment taxes. The DEs had ben represented in the appeal at issue by a non-lawyer managerial employee. However, the other side did not object and the resulting decision was not void. The court does hold that DES must be represented by counsel in employment security proceedings.

The court defined the practice of law as follows:

"One is engaged in the practice of law when he, for a valuable consideration appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies, and there, in such representative capacity, performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the law."  (Mike Frisch)

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