Committee Substitute House Bill 4360 History

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WEST virginia legislature

2016 regular session

Committee Substitute


House Bill 4360

By Delegates Shaffer, Sponaugle, Shott, Reynolds, Miley, Mr. Speaker, (Mr. Armstead), Hanshaw and Weld

[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary]



A BILL to amend and reenact §30-2-4 the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the unauthorized practice of law; increasing the criminal penalty for the unlawful practice of law; and providing that a lawyer may advertise services or hire a person to assist in advertising services as permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §30-2-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:


§30-2-4. Practice without license or oath; penalty; qualification after institution of suits

It shall be is unlawful for any natural person to practice or appear as an attorney at law for another in a court of record in this state, or to make it a business to solicit employment for any attorney, or to furnish an attorney or counsel to render legal services, or to hold himself or herself out to the public as being entitled to practice law, or in any other manner to assume, use, or advertise the title of lawyer, or attorney and counselor at law, or counselor, or attorney and counselor, or equivalent terms in any language, in such manner as to convey the impression that he or she is a legal practitioner of law, or in any manner to advertise that he or she, either alone or together with other persons, has, owns, conducts or maintains a law office, without first having been duly and regularly licensed and admitted to practice law in a court of record of this state, and without having subscribed and taken the oath required by the next preceding section. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be on the first offense is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000 $5,000, or confined in jail not more than ninety days, or both fined and confined, and on any subsequent offense, is guilty of a felony and shall be fined not more than $10,000, or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined; but this penalty shall not be incurred by any attorney who institutes suits in the circuit courts after obtaining a license, if he or she shall qualify at the first term thereafter of a circuit court of any county of the circuit in which he or she resides:  Provided, That nothing herein prohibits a lawyer from advertising their services or hiring a person to assist in advertising their services as permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct.

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