The First Amendment Protects the Right to Give Basic Legal Advice

Link to the civil complaint in UPSOLVE, INC. and REV. JOHN UDOOKON, Plaintiffs, v LETITIA JAMES, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the State of New York, Defendant.

Basically, Plaintiffs wish to provide, free of charge, simple and structured advice to residents of New York who have been sued by debt collectors. Currently, most such residents can not afford attorneys and may not have access or may not know how to obtain access to pro bono legal help. The majority of such individuals end up simply defaulting in court for failure to respond to the debt collectors lawsuit.

However, Plaintiffs are restricted by laws criminalizing the provision of legal advice by non-attorneys, even if such advice is given for free and is very simple in nature.

The Plaintiffs are relying on recent Supreme Court decisions that require any law restricting speech be subject to strict scrutiny.

I think the Plaintiffs have a good chance of winning their case.

It will be argued in the Southern District of New York.

It would seem simplest just to modify the law that prevents this, but then, who tend to be state legislators?


Bingo. Good point.