Saturday, February 20, 2010

Zapp at Law or Crap at Law? Unauthorized Practice of Law on the Rise

According to many reliable sources, including a notable trends forecaster Gerald Celente, we're living on the brink of a complete and total annihilation of our economy as we knew it. This truth, coupled with the power of the Internet, makes Craigslist attractive to wanna be attorneys who respond to ads for attorney assistance on the cheap.

As an example, let's take a fellow reported to this blogger who refers to himself as Zapp at Law, aka, Alan Brown. Zapp's a former prison convict who operates in the California State Capital of Sacramento. He once filed a Federal case in
pro per decades ago he boasts to his clients of winning.

There is no web site for Zapp at Law, he seems to rely heavily on a free service, Craigslist and another free email site at www.justice.com for his marketing activities. Here's part of a recent ad:

Why choose Zap At Law at Office (916) 226-7606 or "zappatlaw@justice.com":

a) I have over 28 years in this field of criminal law. [CM: Because Zapp went to prison and had a lot of time on his hands to file a Federal case in pro per.]

b) I have a very high successful percentage rate for expungement motions having been granted in the Bay Area and San Francisco County. [Zapp isn't supposed to doing this kind of work without a business license or being under the supervision of an authorized licensed attorney]

c) I have the lowest price, please check either online or call others, you will come back to Zapp at Law! [The lowest price because his activities are unlawful.]

d) Fastest possible results. [Because thus far the District Attorney hasn't been notified of this former convict's unlawful legal practice.]

e) I will begin working on your case within 24 hours***[Note the asterisks here]

f) I can serve ALL of California! [Not for long after the District Attorney's office gets a whiff of Zapp crap's little UPL operation]

g) I am online 24/7, and answering the phone seven (7) days a week, until 9:30 p.m.! [Zapp is not online 24/7, the man has to eat and sleep, he's only human]

h) Payment can be through PayPal, or other easy payment plans. Sorry though, I do not take checks! [The DA may be interested in the PayPal records]

i) One call starts the expungement process. Please call me at ; Office (916) 226-7606, or "zappatlaw@justice.com"

In addition to creating a false impression he runs a viable business licensed enterprise for expungements he advertises on Craigslist, Zapp at Law also responds to people's Craigslist ads for attorney assistance, claiming he's a paralegal under the supervision of attorneys.

Even if what Zapp claimed was true, that he is a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney, he isn't supposed to be advertising or operating this way, it's unlawful. For those paralegals who want to be independent and have their own business, we become Legal Document Assistants and register with our county. We're required to have criminal background checks. It's the law!

LDA's
don't give legal advice, we merely direct self represented people to sources where they can obtain general law so we can prepare their legal forms. We then type their legal forms and file them with the court. In other words, LDA's are not supposed to apply the facts of one's case to the law or visa versa. This would be called the "Unauthorized Practice of Law".

This is an excerpt of a lawyer's class on what defines the practice of law:
Its also the practice of law to provide legal advice and counsel and prepare legal instruments and contracts by which legal rights are secured. Legal advice is basically telling somebody what their rights are and trying to apply the law to someone’s particular set of facts. It usually involves the making of a judgment and requires one to make a recommendation as to take a particular course of action as to what somebody should do or not do based on a particular set of facts.

The preparation of legal instruments and contracts is also the practice of law because it’s the prep of a document which affects someone’s legal rights. You can affect someone’s legal rights without doing anything in a court of law which impacts those rights.
Zapp offers his legal services dirt cheap to compete with attorneys, some of who offer their assistance to pro pers on a consultant basis for $100/hour. He offers no information on the attorneys who allegedly supervise and review his work prior to delivering it to a client.

Zapp is headed for trouble because his business operation is about to come to the attention of the Sacramento District Attorney's Office and the California State Bar. His ads on Craigslist are also being monitored and reported. It's been reported to this blogger Zapp at Law, threatens customers who complain about the poor quality of his work in refusing partial refunds, claiming they 1) suddenly owe him even more money since he's underpaid compared to attorneys and 2) are a hostage to various methods he can use to cause them problems.

Performing the services of an attorney without an attorney license is a serious criminal matter. Such a person risks the future of a client in many ways. First, there is no client confidentiality and no protections a person would be otherwise provided in utilizing an attorney. This exposes the client to potential blackmail. People who go around threatening their customers claiming they've been underpaid need to be reeled in for the criminals they are.

Anyone who is contacted by Zapp at Law in response to their Craigslist ad, you can send a complaint letter with the ad to the Sacramento District Attorney's office or call for more information below


906 G Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-1812
Phone 916-874-5278