New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/12/07
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Director of Communications
732-937-7524

State Bar President Pledges to Support Attorney General Crackdown on Unauthorized Practice of Law

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - New Jersey State Bar Association President Lynn Fontaine Newsome joined New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram at a press conference on Monday, Sept. 10, calling for an end to the unauthorized practice of law by Notaries Public in the State of New Jersey. Hosted by Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres at the Paterson Public Safety Complex, the press conference highlighted a pervasive pattern of the unlawful conduct by unlicensed Notaries Public that hurts immigrant communities throughout New Jersey. The unlicensed “Notarios” prey on immigrants who are often too poor to pursue prosecution and who live in fear of inquiry into their own immigration status if they do pursue prosecution.

“The misconception of the American role of Notaries Public could result in some immigrants being defrauded or having their immigration status negatively impacted,” Attorney General Milgram said. “These unscrupulous Notaries often charge over $5,000 to process immigration and residency documents, and then do not provide the promised services. This could then result in the loss of a life’s savings, incorrect filing or the failure to file documents, filing of papers for programs for which the client does not qualify, or filing of false asylum claims or papers for fraudulent or nonexistent legalization programs.”

The Attorney General welcomed the New Jersey State Bar Association as a partner in the crackdown on the unauthorized practice of law. Recently, NJSBA President Newsome announced that the unauthorized practice of law would be a focus of the State Bar Association in the coming year. The unlawful practice of law harms many New Jersey residents who seek the help of the courts in areas including matrimonial law, immigration, bankruptcy and many others.

President Newsome thanked the Attorney General for taking on this important issue and noted the deleterious affect many “Notarios” have had on citizens’ faith in lawyers and the court systems in New Jersey.

“The vast majority of Notary Publics are part of a vital, law abiding network that supports the legal system and do not engage in the unlawful practice of law,” President Newsome said. She pledged to have the State Bar work closely with the Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs.

The press conference was covered by NJ 12 Television, Univision and several statewide newspapers.

To report a fraud to the Attorney General or the Division of Consumer Affairs, call 1-800-242-5846, or email: askconsumeraffairs@lps.state.nj.us,or visit http://www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice. Visit the association’s website at www.njsba.com.

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