“Everyone in California deserves access to legal services. The recent federal immigration actions in California, uncertainty for DACA recipients, and the ongoing concerns faced by our immigrant communities increases the potential that unscrupulous people will seek to take advantage of those in the most dire need of legal help” said Steven Moawad, Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar of California. “We want to be sure that all Californians know how access the legal services they need and to avoid and report fraud.”
The State Bar advises Californians to avoid fraud from attorneys, notarios or other unlicensed legal providers by taking some of the following steps:
California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on the behalf of a lawyer from:
If someone hires an immigration consultant rather than an attorney, it’s important to understand what an immigration consultant can and cannot do. Immigration consultants can help consumers fill out paperwork and translate and submit forms to government agencies, but they cannot give legal advice and cannot represent anyone in Immigration Court. Attorneys or accredited representatives must be registered with the Executive Office of Immigration Review before appearing in Immigration Court.) Immigration lawyers can be licensed in other states even if they practice immigration law in California. Still, any complaints about such attorneys will be forwarded to the correct state authorities.
The State Bar, which regulates the practice of law in California, cannot represent clients or refer them to a particular attorney. People needing a lawyer can contact the State Bar of California to connect with a certified lawyer referral service at 415-538-2250 or email LRS@calbar.ca.gov.