Findings. (Effective October 20, 2011.)
The legislature finds and declares that the practice by nonlawyers and other unauthorized persons of providing legal advice and legal services to others in immigration matters substantially affects the public interest. The practice of nonlawyers and other unauthorized persons providing immigration-related legal advice and legal services for compensation may impact the ability of their customers to reside and work within the United States and to establish and maintain stable families and business relationships. The legislature further finds and declares that the previous scheme for regulating the behavior of nonlawyers and other unauthorized persons who provide immigration-related services is inadequate to address the level of unfair and deceptive practices that exists in the marketplace and often contributes to the unauthorized practice of law. It is the intent of the legislature, through chapter 244, Laws of 2011, to prohibit nonlawyers and other unauthorized persons from providing immigration-related services that constitute the practice of law.
[2011 c 244 § 1; 1989 c 117 § 1.]
| Effective date -- 2011 c 244: "This act takes effect one hundred eighty days after final adjournment of the legislative session in which it is enacted [The secretary of state has determined that the effective date of this act is October 20, 2011.]." [2011 c 244 § 11.]|
Evaluation -- Report -- 2011 c 244: "(1)(a) The legislature recognizes that immigrants in Washington need legal services to assist them in immigration matters, and it is difficult for existing organizations to meet those needs because of high case loads and limited resources.
(b) The legislature also recognizes that the difference between offering nonlegal services and offering legal services in immigration matters is sometimes difficult to distinguish. Not understanding or recognizing the distinction between nonlegal services and legal services in immigration matters can result in a person engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and can result in irreparable consequences for immigrants who seek assistance.
(2) Therefore, the legislature respectfully requests that the supreme court's practice of law board, within available resources, evaluate the following:
(a) The specific services nonattorneys may provide to immigrants that do not rise to the level of the practice of law in immigration matters;
(b) The level of access to and the quality of nonlegal and legal services immigrants have and the ways in which access and quality can be improved;
(c) The level of need immigrants have for nonlegal services compared to the need for legal services in immigration matters.
(3) A report of the board's findings and recommendations must be presented to the legislature no later than December 1, 2011." [2011 c 244 § 9.]