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Chapter 7. Attorneys at Law

No Article Name Designated.


7-101 Unauthorized practice of law; penalty.

Except as provided in section 7-101.01, no person shall practice as an attorney or counselor at law, or commence, conduct or defend any action or proceeding to which he is not a party, either by using or subscribing his own name, or the name of any other person, or by drawing pleadings or other papers to be signed and filed by a party, in any court of record of this state, unless he has been previously admitted to the bar by order of the Supreme Court of this state. No such paper shall be received or filed in any action or proceeding unless the same bears the endorsement of some admitted attorney, or is drawn, signed, and presented by a party to the action or proceeding. It is hereby made the duty of the judges of such courts to enforce this prohibition. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor, but this section shall not apply to persons admitted to the bar under preexisting laws.

Source: R.S. 1866, c. 3, § 1, p. 14; Laws 1893, c. 1, § 1, p. 63; Laws 1895, c. 6, § 1, p. 72; Laws 1905, c. 6, § 1, p. 58; R.S. 1913, § 265; C.S. 1922, § 260; C.S. 1929, § 7-101; R.S. 1943, § 7-101; Laws 1967, c. 17, § 1, p. 114; Laws 1977, LB 40, § 35.


1. Practices prohibited

A trustee’s duties in connection with his or her office do not include the right to present argument pro se in courts of the state because in this capacity such trustee would be representing interests of others and would therefore be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Back Acres Pure Trust v. Fahnlander, 233 Neb. 28, 443 N.W. 2d 604 (1989).

Only a person who has been admitted to the practice of law may participate in a trial by the examination of witnesses unless he appears in his own behalf. State v. Warford, 223 Neb. 368, 389 N.W. 2d 575 (1986).

To be convicted under this statute, the statute requires only that a pleading be drafted with the intent that it will be filed in court, not that it is actually filed. State v. Thierstein, 220 Neb. 766, 371 N.W. 2d 746 (1985).

Disbarred attorney could not conduct representative suit. Niklaus v. Abel Construction Co., 164 Neb. 842, 83 N.W. 2d 904 (1957).

The conducting of a hearing before the State Railway Commission constitutes the practice of law where it requires the exercise of legal training, knowledge and skill. State ex rel. Johnson v. Childe, 147 Neb. 527, 23 N.W. 2d 720 (1946).

Person engaging in “ambulance chasing” is guilty of illegal practice of law. State ex rel. Wright v. Hinckle, 137 Neb. 735, 291 N.W. 68 (1940).

Practice of law includes preparing and filing of pleadings in justice court, trial of cases, examination of witnesses, argument, and giving advice to persons as to their legal rights. State ex rel. Hunter v. Kirk, 133 Neb. 625, 276 N.W. 380 (1937).

One may be guilty of practice of law without a license notwithstanding he receives no fee for services performed. State ex rel. Wright v. Barlow, 131 Neb. 294, 268 N.W. 95 (1936).

A nonattorney personal representative is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law if he personally brings a wrongful death action for medical negligence on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Waite v. Carpenter, 1 Neb. App. 321, 496 N.W. 2d 1 (1992).

2. Admission and disbarment

One who is suspended from the practice of law is no longer an admitted attorney within the meaning of this section. State ex rel. NSBA v. Frank, 219 Neb. 271, 363 N.W. 2d 139 (1985).

Court which has the power to license attorneys to practice law has inherent power to disbar them from further practice by judicial act. State ex rel. Sorensen v. Goldman, 127 Neb. 340, 255 N.W. 32 (1934).

Section is declarative of the common law as far as it goes, but does not circumscribe the powers of the court. In re Dunn, 85 Neb. 606, 124 N.W. 120 (1909).

Nonresident cannot be admitted to practice generally. In re Robinson, 82 Neb. 172, 117 N.W. 352 (1908).

Supreme Court has sole power to pass upon the qualifications of applicants for admission to the bar, and has sole power to annul admission. In re Disbarment Proceedings of Newby, 76 Neb. 482, 107 N.W. 850 (1906).

Applicant for admission generally must be citizen of United States and resident of state. In re Admission to the Bar, 61 Neb. 58, 84 N.W. 611 (1900).

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