New York: court case on professional speech versus conduct

Court Cases, Unlicensed Practice,

A new York court opinion has ruled that volunteers for a legal aid nonprofit are not subject to New York's law against the unauthorized practice of law (UPL). Upsolve, a financial-education and civil rights nonprofit, sued, claiming the the UPL law was a violation of First Amendment rights to free speech in that their services consisted of "pure verbal speech" and did not constitute conduct. The court applied the highest level of First Amendment scrutiny to the UPL law and found that "a total ban on Upsolve's program cannot be justified." The CATO Institute concludes: "There is of course a role to play for states in protecting consumers, but all too often those rules do not account for new and innovative nonprofits or business models."

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