One of the foremost ethics issues is the unauthorized practice of law (UPL). To be at risk of UPL, the lawyer’s actions must constitute “practic- ing law” as defined by the rules and regulations of his or her state bar.1 Some state bars have a different definition of “practicing law,” and there has been some question about whether providing forms to clients to fill out online with no other lawyer interaction constitutes the “practice” of law under those states’ rules. But with a virtual law practice, the lawyer is not providing online forms or other law-specific interaction with the client until the attorney-client relationship has been established. The lawyer is conducting work with the client just as he or she would in a tra- ditional law practice, only in the online environment using the processes set up in the technology. There should be no question that these actions constitute the “practice” of law.
1See the ABA’s Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law Web site for resources and a list of the different state definitions of the practice of law: http://www.abanet.org/cpr/ model-def/home.html (accessed May 30, 2010) and the Task Force’s Report issued April 2003: http://www.abanet.org/cpr/model-def/taskforce_rpt_803.pdf (accessed May 30, 2010).