I work at a small, 3 lawyer firm. One of the lawyers is not barred in the state we practice. Because of this, the managing attorney has been having him draft motions and other legal documents and use my name and bar number and having me file them because I will have to appear in court for the matter. Is this normal? I am not provided time to review the materials before I file them so I end up working longer days because I am nervous to file something using my name and bar number.

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Does your state not issue firm bar #s? If not, I would firstly be certain I had malpractice insurance on my personal number, and I would never file anything without reviewing, so doing so would be an ethics violation in my jurisdiction. What is the issue with this lawyer getting admitted?

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If you sign it, then you are responsible for it. In our firm, the bar # of the owner of the firm is listed on every pleading as well as the attorney handling the case. However, it is the
Case manager attorney who drafts the pleading. We are all covered by the firm’s malpractice insurance as employee’s of the firm. However, you may still get in trouble with the judge and/or look bad if the work product isn’t up to snuff. I wouldn’t sign anything that I haven’t reviewed.

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You could get in trouble if he writes something sanctionable. This manner of signing-then-filing prevents you from exercising independent professional judgment, and you could be assisting in the unauthorized practice of law. Be careful.

smart

Unauthorized practice is probably less of an issue. He’s basically doing the work of a paralegal.

Ultimately, you’d be responsible for the filing. If you can just get more time to review these documents so that your professional judgment is satisfied, that’ll probably help this concern.

My state does not issue firm bar numbers and only accepts applications to transfer UBE scores twice a year. The attorney has missed the deadline the last two times.

Then I think it is only fair that your firm cover the cost of liability insurance, and I would still never file anything under your name that you have not reviewed. If either of those are dealbreakers time to dust off the resume. Your professional license is not worth risking

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