Acts Like a Lawyer, Talks Like a Lawyer…Non-Lawyer Advocates Representing Parties in Dispute Resolution
New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer
What are the ethical implications for lawyer mediators, arbitrators and dispute resolution providers when the lines between the roles of lawyers and the non-lawyers who are representing clients in dispute resolution become blurry? Traditionally, non-lawyer advocates (hereinafter NARs) have represented clients in the negotiations, mediation and arbitration of legal matters without cause for concern. Yes, labor union representatives, sports agents, and special education advocates are three familiar examples of non-lawyers who represent clients in negotiations, mediations and arbitrations, informing clients of their legal rights. Routinely, the lawyers and neutrals presiding over the dispute resolution procedure have warmly welcomed these non-lawyers, viewing these non-lawyers as valued participants who provide their clients beneficial subject matter expertise to help resolve the legal dispute at hand. However, that welcome has now turned tepid and tentative as FINRA and its neutrals question the ethics of some of those non-lawyers who are representing clients in FINRA arbitration.
Reprinted with permission from the New York State Bar Association.