In Illinois, and most likely every other state, the
practice of law is defind as holding one's self out
To be a licensed wrote: attorney, and/or one who charges a
Fee for giving legal advice.
Anything else is mere "I'll huff and puff 'til you
Back down," from the judge.
Charging a fee and accepting a donation are two different animals as is assisting with counsel and representation by attorney. Today there are many places that provide forms and will fill them out for a fee. None have been challenged to be practicing law that I know of. The only problem I have is sitting at the table and speaking when assisting another. They will allow you to sit but when you speak the stuff hits the fan. Only once was I required to leave the table. I had 3 state criminal trials and had a man sit next to me for counsel at all. Have never tried this in a civil case. We discussed many things while the Judge patiently waited for our conference to end and for me to respond. It actually got funny because the prosecutor kept saying he objected to my having this man to discuss what I would say next. His objections were over rulled. At my trial I admitted I charge for typing and research but I never sign or filed anybody else's papers with the clerk. I testified that I had no idea if the pleading were signed or filed. No issue was made of that fact. I was sentenced to 2 years at hard labor but not incarcerated. It was a jury trial. 5 years later I won my appeal. They knew I would win on appeal and that is why I was not incarcerated on that charge.