Written Research Assignment & Email Evaluation Sheet
Research Conference Evaluation Sheet
Dear LRW Professors/Ideabank Users:
Please note, this assignment was developed from a UPL assignment created by an unknown author. If you are (or know) the author of the original assignment, please let me know. I would like to credit the original idea to the proper individual.
To: Law Clerk
From: Attorney, Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee
Akron Bar Association
Date: October 1, 2014 Re: Joseph Landis– Unauthorized Practice of Law
As a member of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (“Committee”) of the Akron Bar Association (“ABA”), I have been asked to investigate the possible unauthorized practice of law by Joseph Landis, a law student at the University of Akron School of Law. The Committee meets monthly to review and investigate complaints against non-attorneys or those not licensed to practice law in Ohio who may have been rendering legal services to others. A complaint was recently filed against Landis by Martha Sheridan. The ABA Committee will be discussing his case at its meeting next month to determine whether we should file a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on the Unauthorized Practice of Law.
I have completed the initial factual investigation and am turning the file over to you for your legal analysis of the situation. I have spoken with Landis concerning his actions and have also spoken with Martha Sheridan, the person Landis is alleged to have advised. I have also talked with the Dean of Landis’ law school. A transcript of my conversation with Landis (created with his permission) is attached to the memo. The complaint filed by Ms. Sheridan with the Akron Bar Association is also attached. You should note that Ms. Sheridan filed her complaint using the attorney grievance form she found on the ABA’s web site. Although Landis is not an attorney, I accepted the statement of her complaint in this form.
The dean of the law school has verified the following: Landis is in his third year as a full-time student at Akron. He is twenty-six years old and has been an outstanding student. He participated in Moot Court last year and is a member of the law review. Landis’ grades place him at the top of his class. Overall, the dean at the law school speaks very highly of him.
An eviction proceeding involving Sheridan and her landlord took place in March 2014. In addition to the information provided in the attached documents by Landis and Sheridan about this proceeding, you should know that afterwards Sheridan met with an attorney who agreed to represent her in a negligence action against her landlord. In August 2014, this attorney filed a complaint against Sheridan’s landlord for negligence for not maintaining the locks on the front door of her apartment building. Sheridan’s ex-boyfriend was able to enter the building because the front door did not lock, and he assaulted Sheridan on at least one occasion.
The attorney for Sheridan’s landlord filed a motion to dismiss the negligence complaint arguing that Sheridan failed to raise the negligence claim at the eviction hearing. She is arguing that the negligence claim should be considered a compulsory counterclaim in the eviction action, and because it was not raised then, it is now barred. The judge granted the landlord’s motion to dismiss. Sheridan’s attorney is appealing that decision.
It appears that Sheridan’s attorney encouraged her to file the complaint against Landis for unauthorized practice of law and request an investigation. Sheridan’s lawyer may be requesting this investigation in part because a finding of unauthorized practice by our committee could assist his appeal for Sheridan.
Partial Transcript of interview of Joseph Landis
September 26, 2014 Wawrose: Thank you for agreeing to talk with me Mr. Landis.
Landis: Sure, no problem. I just want to get this whole thing cleared up as soon as possible.
Wawrose: I understand. Let’s start with some background. Tell me how you met Martha Sheridan.
Landis: Last spring term, it was February; I was taking Real Property Transactions and Legal Drafting along with some other courses. One night I was in my usual table in the library studying for the Property course and Martha Sheridan came over to me out of the blue to ask me a question about a problem she was having with her landlord. I didn’t know her at all—never met her before—but she seemed pretty upset, so I asked her what was wrong.
Wawrose: What did she say?
Landis: Well, she said she was really having trouble with her landlord and needed help, but she couldn’t afford a lawyer. She asked me if I was a lawyer, and I told her I am just a law student. She laughed and said she was in the library trying to find some information about landlord-tenant proceedings and how to handle them. She said she wasn’t sure where to begin and she asked me if I could point her in the right direction, or something like that.
Wawrose: What kind of difficulties was she having?
Landis: Well, let’s see, she was complaining about how high her rent was and how a number of things in her apartment needed to be repaired. She said the faucets in her bathroom were always dripping and that the pipes leaked under the sink. She also said a leak from the apartment above hers in the bedroom that ran down the wall and made her rugs smell moldy or musty.
Wawrose: Did you agree to help her?
Landis: The stuff she was talking about was really similar to a discussion we just had in class about tenants’ rights, so I had some ideas about what she should do and I shared those with her.
Wawrose: What did you tell her?
Landis: Well, I just gave her some general advice. First, I think I suggested she talk to the landlord about renegotiating her rent, and fixing the problems with the plumbing. I told her if that didn’t work, she could send the landlord a letter detailing her complaints and requesting that they be repaired. I think she
Wawrose: Was that it?
Landis: No. And this was my dumb mistake, I felt sorry for her, she was so upset and she said she had a little boy and was trying so hard to keep everything together. So, I said I hoped I was helpful and I told her that if she had any more questions she could pretty much always find me at the same table in the library.
Wawrose: Did you see her again?
Landis: I did. Around the beginning of March, she came into the library and said she needed more help. She said something like, “Is the law office open?” I laughed and asked her what was up.
Wawrose: What did she say?
Landis: Well, her landlord had filed a summons and complaint requiring her to appear in court for an eviction hearing at the end of the month. The complaint alleged that she and her “guests” had caused repeated disturbances in violation of the lease, that the police had been called on more than one occasion, and that her guests had damaged the apartment building.
She told me she had trouble understanding the documents and didn’t know what to do next. She asked if I could help her figure out what to do. Then she said something I thought was a little weird. She said, “If you help me, I’ll bake you cookies, and I’ll even throw in a six-pack. I can’t afford an attorney to help with this.”
I felt so sorry for her, she just seemed like a nice person who was having a rough time of it, so I agreed to help, but I remember telling her again that I didn’t know how much help I would be since I was only a law student.
Wawrose: Were you able to help her?
Landis: Well, I read the papers she had with her, and I explained basically what the summons and complaint were. I told her that they required her to appear in court. I asked her about the facts of the case and if the landlord’s allegations in the complaint were true.
At that point, she was kind of rambling, and got upset again. She said something like, “Let me tell you my side of the story.”
She told me that she had a restraining order against an ex-boyfriend who kept coming around. The ex-boyfriend, Michael Smith, I don’t know why I remember his name, had come by the apartment twice in the past month. She said that one night around 10:00 at night he came in through the lobby door of the apartment building, which was normally locked, when another tenant in the building held it open for him. He came up to Martha’s floor and began banging on her door and yelling. She called the police. They came and escorted him out, but did not arrest him when he promised to stay away. Sorry, this is long.
Wawrose: That’s alright. Please continue.
Landis: A couple days later, Smith showed up again, this time around midnight. He was able to enter through the front door of the building this time because the front door lock was broken. Martha had mentioned this to the landlord because she was afraid Smith might return and hurt her, but the landlord hadn’t fixed it. This time, Smith broke Sheridan’s door down and beat her up before the police arrived and arrested him.
They took her to the hospital. When I saw her, she had bruises on her arms and face and a cut at the top of her neck behind her ear. The cut required stitches, she said she had x-rays taken, and she was required to spend the night in the hospital for observation. She said she was pretty sure that was why she was being evicted.
Wawrose: So, what did you tell her to do, if anything?
Landis: I tried to help her figure out what to say in court at her hearing. I told her to explain to the judge that she did not cause the disturbance, but that her ex-boyfriend was the one responsible. I recommended that she bring a copy of the restraining order and copies of the police report with her to court to show that Koehler was not a “guest.”
I did a search online while she was there and found a suggestion on an Ohio landlord-tenant blog that that during the eviction proceeding she could ask the judge to require the landlord to make the needed repairs to the apartment. It also suggested that she should ask to get a portion of her past rent abated because of the poor condition of her apartment. This was the same as what we had learned in class—right out of our textbook--so I felt pretty comfortable showing her the website.
She seemed confused about rent abatement, and I told her there are lots of good web sites for tenants and said she should just do a Google search for “rent abatement.” I figured she would find a form there she could use to respond to the landlord, and I told her that.
Wawrose: Was that it?
Landis: A couple hours later, she came back with a form that she found using a library computer. She had filled out the form and asked me to take a look at it. I noticed she had listed the bathroom faucets and the leak in the bedroom. She asked me if it was OK, and I think I made a few suggestions for other things she could add. There were so many problems with the place, and I tend to be pretty detail oriented. I also looked up the section in the Ohio Revised Code regarding rent abatement for her so she could write it on the form. I figured the judge would know it, but it just made the form look more complete. Then I told her to give a copy to the landlord and to take one to the hearing. And that was pretty much it. She left, and I went back to studying.
Wawrose: Did you see her again?
Landis: A few weeks later, came back one more time to the library. I was at my usual table and she said, “Hey, there’s my lawyer!” I told her “still a law student,” and I remember she laughed.
She had a big plate of cookies with her and a six-pack of beer. She was pretty excited because the judge had ruled against the landlord on the eviction and had awarded her $600 on the abatement claim. While in the courthouse, she spoke with a lawyer who said that she might also have a claim against the landlord for her medical bills stemming from the assault. She said she had an appointment with that lawyer the following week. I took the cookies since she had baked them herself and it seemed mean to tell her I didn’t want them. But, I left them for the law library staff since I’m kind of a health nut—no sugar or trans fats. I don’t drink, and I told her that, so I didn’t take the beer. Well, I think that’s it, except now, this. I really didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. And, I definitely didn’t expect her to report me for helping her.
(end of transcript)
AKRON BAR ASSOCIATION
INVESTIGATIVE FORM: STATEMENT OF FACTS
Please return to: 57 S. Broadway Street – Akron, OH 44308 Your Name:______Martha Sheridan________________________________________
Address: ___25 Meyer Street, Apt. 3GAkron Ohio 44309
Street address city state zip
Telephone No. 330-231-1231 Name & Address of the attorney you are complaining about: Law student, Joseph Landis (Not an attorney) Does this attorney represent you? YES NO
If no, name of the person represented ___________________Your relationship: _____________
Date the attorney was hired: ______________________________________________________
Has the attorney withdrawn or been dismissed? YES NO
Did you pay the attorney a fee/retainer? YES NO If yes, how much? _______________
Did you sign a written fee agreement/contract? YES NO If yes, please attach a photocopy Were you referred to this attorney by the Lawyer Referral Service of the Akron Bar Association?
For what legal matter did you consult the attorney? ____________________________________
Is your legal matter currently pending in a court of law? YES NO
If yes, what court? __________________________ County: _____________________________
Case Number: _________________________________________________________________
Has the attorney sued you in a court of law for collection of fees? YES NO
Have you filed a complaint with any other disciplinary agency? YES NO
If yes, which one? ________________________________________________________
Did you receive a response? YES NO If yes, please attach a photocopy
Please state what the attorney did or failed to do that you believe may have been improper.
Attach copies of any receipt, fee contract, correspondence, billing statement or additional
documents which may support your grievance. Use additional pages if necessary.
This foregoing statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief. I agree to keep
confidential the fact that I submitted this grievance. In addition, I understand that in filing this
grievance, I am waiving the attorney-client privilege in my case.
My name is Martha Sheridan. I am 25 years old, and I work part-time as a waitress at the Diamond Grille restaurant. I am unmarried and have a five-year-old son. In February 2014, I was having trouble with my landlord. I couldn’t afford a lawyer, so I went to the law library at the University of Akron to see if someone could help me. I met Joseph Landis in the library and he gave me a lot of help with my case.
1. He told me that my rent was too high and that I could ask my landlord to lower it or refund some of it to me. He also told me that I could ask my landlord to fix some problems in my apartment (leaky faucet in the bathroom, moldy carpet, etc.)
2. He told me that if my landlord didn’t fix these things after I talked to him, I should send the landlord a letter and make a formal request to abate my rent and fix the problems in the apartment.
3. Around March 2014, I asked Joseph for some more advice because my landlord wanted to evict me. Joseph helped me understand the papers from the landlord and gave me advice about what to take to court and what to tell the judge so that I wouldn’t get evicted. He told me to use the internet to look for forms that I could use to complain about my landlord. The form I used is attached to this document.
4. Joseph also helped me fill out the forms I found on the internet. I filled out the form and Joseph looked it over. He did some research for me to find a law and suggested I add some other problems with the apartment, like peeling paint in her bedroom and a broken smoke alarm on my list of repairs for the landlord. He told me I should give a copy to the landlord and take one to court for the judge. I have a new lawyer now, and my lawyer said I should report Joseph Landis for because he gave me legal advice even though he is just a law student and not a lawyer. Martha Sheridan 9/26/2014
How did you hear about the Akron Bar Association Grievance Committee?
____From my lawyer__________________________________________________________
Tenant’s name(s), address(es), and telephone no.(s)
Landlord’s name(s) and address(es)
With this notice, the tenant(s) informs the landlord that the landlord has breached his obligations under ________________ and our rental agreement.
(state housing code section)
The following conditions exist and must be corrected:
1. ____________________ 6. _____________________
2 ____________________ 7. _____________________
3. ____________________ 8. _____________________
4. ____________________ 9. _____________________
5. ____________________ 10. __ __________________
If you do not correct these conditions by _____________________ (date), I demand that you return 25% of my rent for the last six months in the amount of $__________________ .
Delivered by ___Hand ____ Mail to ___________________________
(the place where you normally pay rent).
Date delivered or mail: ____________________________________
Legal Profession I/Prof. Wawrose
Second Memo Research Reports & Email Assignment (80 points)
Value: 10% of final grade
Goal: The purpose of this assignment is to guide you through some of the research for the Second Memo assignment. It should also result in your identifying the core materials you will need for the memo.
Rules: You may work on these assignments alone or in groups of 3 or fewer. If you choose to work in a group, the group may submit one written Research Report and email. You may also work together on one oral presentation of you research results. Be sure all group members are identified on all written assignments. Note that if you choose to work with a group, all group members will receive the same number of points on each assignment the group completes.
1. The Written Research Assignment (40 points)
Due: Tuesday 10/21; 9:30am
Submit Research Report and email to Legal Profession Lockbox; 4th floor landing.
Write your name(s) & “Prof. Wawrose” on the Written Research Assignment.
You do not need to reproduce the questions below. But, be sure to number your answers.
Governing rule and applicable statute (8 total points)
Locate the rule that governs unauthorized practice of law in Ohio.
Cite the rule using Bluebook form. (2 points)
Read, copy, and attach the text of the rule. Highlight the relevant language. If printing from Westlaw or Lexis, be careful to print only the text of the rule, not the annotations and notes of decisions. (2 points)
Locate the section of the Ohio Revised Code that, with some exceptions, prohibits unlicensed individuals from practicing law in Ohio.
Cite the statute using Bluebook form. (2 points)
Read, copy, and attach the text of the statute. Highlight the relevant language. (2 points)
A relevant secondary source (4 pts total)
Using the statutory annotations or through other research methods find a secondary source that helps you understand the issues raised by the assignment. Attach the section of one of the sources that you find informative; highlight particularly relevant information. (3 pages max). (2 pts) Cite the source using Bluebook form. (2 pts)
Four cases (20 pts total)
Submit four key cases that you plan to use to write the second memo.
Update and cite the cases using Bluebook form. (2 pts each)
For each case, cut and paste or highlight the text that you plan to use in your memo. Attach. (2 pages max per case). (3 pts each)
d. Outline of the Analysis (8 points)
Attach a short outline of the main issues you will discuss in the Second Memo. This outline should reflect the hierarchy of the issues and sub-issues. As an example, the outline for the First Memo would have included the four elements of IIED.
2. Presentation of Results to Supervising Attorney (20 points)
This assignment is designed to help you prepare for a frequent occurrence as a new attorney or a law clerk: a face-to-face meeting with a supervisor to give an oral summary of your research.
You will give an oral report to Prof. Wawrose, who will be in the role of your supervising attorney. Your presentation should cover what a court considers when analyzing the issues raised by the assignment. You should discuss the relevant rule or s2tatute and 3-4 of the most useful cases for your client. Assume I only have a basic understanding of the issue: in this situation you are the expert.
This conference will be a conversation. I will ask questions when I need clarification or further explanation. You should not ask questions of me that you would not ask of a real supervising attorney (e.g., is that right, should I use this case?)
Some questions you will want to focus on include:
What are the main issues that you will address in your memorandum? (I)
For each issue, which legal authority is most relevant? (R and R/ills)
What proposition(s) does the authority provide or support? (R)
How do case law precedent and other legal authority affect the analysis? (R/ills and App.)
Which issues provide strong arguments for your client? Which issues are weak for your client? Why? (Application/Counterarguments/Conclusion).
Items to bring with you to the conference:
The outline of the framework you plan to use under each issue. (See Written Research Report, above.) Consider this as a way to organize your thoughts and analysis. You are not expected to memorize a presentation. You may speak from your outline.
Cases and other materials you plan to use to write your memo.
(Be sure these documents are stored in an organized way that makes a professional impression.)
Maximum of 3 per group.
All group members must speak during the conference to receive credit.
Evaluation Criteria: See Research Conference Evaluation Sheet
3. Email (20 points)
Due: Tuesday 10/21; 9:30am
Submit with written Research Report to Legal Profession Lockbox; 4th floor landing.Draft an email that summarizes your initial response to the issues raised by the assignment. See Coughlin, Chapter 18 for guidelines. (Address the substantive issues only.) Write in full sentences and provide citations to legal authority as used. Print the draft email and submit with the written Research Report.
In this email, please address the following:
Is it likely that Joseph Landis engaged in unauthorized practice of law (UPL)?
Which of his actions in assisting Martha Sheridan could constitute UPL?
What is your initial assessment on each of these actions?
The email should be about the length of one email screen.
Collaboration Policy: This assignment is governed by a modified Open Discussion Policy. In this modified Open Discussion assignment, first-year students may discuss and debate the law, issues and ideas in an assignment only with other first-year students in Prof. Wawrose’ section of Legal Profession I and Prof. Wawrose, if they wish. Students are free to work with others, but no one is required to enter into the discussion; it is the student's choice to participate or not.
Modified open discussion does not include dividing the work necessary for an assignment. Every student should contribute to the completion of all parts of the assignment. Students may NOT discuss this assignment with anyone outside of Prof. Wawrose’ class. This prohibition includes other students, friends, family, Academic Success Program Faculty and Teaching Assistants, tutors, and any other legal professionals.
Legal Profession I/Second Memo 2014/Prof. Wawrose ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS: SECOND MEMO In this assignment, you will review the case file, do the legal research required to support the memo, and write the memo as assigned below.
1. Party Represented: You are a law clerk working for a member of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of the Akron Bar Association.
2. Due Dates:
Draft conferences: Week of Nov 10-14
Sprint conferences: Week of Nov 17-21
The Second Memo is due Saturday, November 22.
Upload to Isidore Assignments by 5:00 p.m.
3. Format: Memos should include the following required sections: Heading, Statement of Facts, Question Presented, Brief Answer, Discussion, and Conclusion. Be sure to use the new ID number from the Registrar, not your old number, for this assignment.
4. Suggested Page Limit: 10-13 pages.
5. Format: The memo must be double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and numbered pages. Permitted fonts are: Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, and Arial. All fonts must be 12 point.
6. Citation: Citations to the legal authority should conform to the Bluebook rules. If a citation form is not addressed in the Bluepages of the Bluebook, you should use the Bluebook “white pages” to develop your citation
7. Percentage of Grade: This assignment is worth 55% of your final grade.
8. Collaboration Policy: The memo assignment is subject to the Open Discussion Policy. This policy is reproduced below and is also included in the Legal Profession Policies posted on Isidore.
9. Plagiarism: This assignment is governed by the law school’s policy on plagiarism, along with the Legal Profession Program’s policy on plagiarism set out in the Legal Profession Supplement and posted on Isidore. Please review those policies.
Open Discussion Policy: In an Open Discussion assignment, first-year students may discuss and debate the law, issues and ideas in an assignment only with his or her Legal Profession professor, Teaching Assistant, or other first-year students, if they wish. Students are free to work with others, but no one is required to enter into the discussion; it is the student's choice to participate or not. Once students produce written outlines or drafts, they must work independently to complete the assignment. Students may not exchange or edit each other's written drafts. Open discussion does not include: sharing or working together from a master draft or composite outline, or sharing or dividing the work necessary for an assignment. When an assignment is still in draft, the draft may be reviewed only by your professor or the professor's Legal Profession Teaching Assistant. Your professor will provide instructions on how to submit drafts. Students may NOT ask anyone else to review their drafts or final papers. This prohibition includes other students, friends, family, Academic Success Program Faculty and Teaching Assistants, tutors, and any other legal professionals.
Written Research Assignment & Email Evaluation Sheet Name(s):
Research Conference Evaluation Sheet Name(s): ______/20 Secondary Source(s): Y/N?
If used, quality of source(s)?
Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Identified all main issues clearly? Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Explained how case law relates to issues?
(includes accurate representation of case law facts and holdings?)
Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Attention to hierarchy of authority
(binding/persuasive nature of cases considered)
Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Demonstrated knowledge of client facts? Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Able to evaluate strongest/weakest arguments? Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Clarity of presentation Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Ability to handle questions Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Professional Tone & Impression Excellent Very Good Good Weak n/a
Brought cases and other materials to conference? Y/N