…one of the small pleasures I have in life is using the knowledge and skills I have acquired over a lifetime of professional education, training and practical experience to help friends who are dealing with legal issues of one kind or another. I do this, of course, in careful contemplation of Alaska Bar Rule 63 which defines what the “unauthorized practice of law” is and Alaska Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5 which applies Bar Rule 63 to members of the state’s bar. Most of my compliance with the two rules is easy- I don’t hold myself out to the public as a practicing attorney, don’t have an office, don’t charge fees of any sort, don’t appear for anyone in a court or other adjudicative forum, and don’t prepare and file pleadings on anyone else’s behalf. While some might complain that I would freely offer my opinion about legal matters to anyone who will listen, it’s my opinion that the rules don’t regulate such conduct, as it is beyond their scope and would in any event directly conflict with my right of free speech under the First Amendment. I am also free to do whatever legal research I feel like I have the time, energy and competence to undertake and provide the results of that research in whatever form I choose to others, again as my opinion as to what I believe the results to be. As I consider myself to be reasonably skilled at legal drafting, I am happy to look documents over for my friends and give my opinion as to things that might be changed or which might be presented or argued differently. Anyone who would carp about my doing these things should note that, in doing so, I’m not providing legal advice or assistance. I’m just an old guy with time on my hands and a particular set of skills that I hate to see rust away from disuse.
And I hate to see injustice done. And especially done to my friends.