New policy in place for supervising UPL investigations

first_img New policy in place for supervising UPL investigations The issue deals with undercover operations Acting at the behest of the Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law, the Bar Board of Governors has approved a new Bar policy for attorneys supervising Bar investigators in UPL cases.UPL Committee Chair Wayne Thomas told the board recently that undercover UPL investigations were halted several years ago after questions were raised in another state about the propriety of an attorney supervising undercover investigators who, because of the nature of their work, misrepresent who they are.That was cleared up in recent Bar rule amendments approved by the Supreme Court, he said, and the UPL committee wanted a Bar standing board policy to implement the rule.“We never had a problem with them [such investigations]. We never had a single complaint,” Thomas said.Such tactics are needed because “we would have a situation where a complaint was made, but there would be some problem when the witness left town, or a problem with credibility or we would need corroboration,” Thomas said. “The witness would say I went into XYZ company and the evidence would indicate they were given legal advice, and we would have no way to corroborate that. The committee would have someone go in and see what happened.”Thomas noted that the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants wrote a letter to the Bar asking that if undercover UPL investigations are resumed, that the Bar adopt a policy that CPAs be excluded from any such probes.But he said if the Bar granted one such exemption, it would soon be requested to similarly exempt Realtors and securities dealers. He also said it wasn’t needed.“I’ve been involved in UPL for 15 years and as far as I know there has not been one prosecution of a CPA,” Thomas said.The board approved the new policy, with no exceptions, on a voice vote. New policy in place for supervising UPL investigations April 30, 2006 Regular Newslast_img read more