RESOLUTION OPPOSING PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL BILL 970713 RE LICENSING OF AGENTS

WHEREAS , Council Bill No.970713 was introduced November 13, 1997 in the City Council of Philadelphia, calling for the amendment of Title 9 of the Philadelphia Code entitled, Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions, by adding a new chapter entitled Agents, which requires any person who represents or acts on behalf of another person in any matter before the Department of Licenses and Inspections, the Board of Building Standards, the Board of Licenses and Inspection Review, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention or the Accessibility Advisory Board (collectively Boards of Record), to obtain a license;

WHEREAS , Council Bill No.970713 sets forth standards for the issuance of such licenses, requires that the license to be obtained prior to any act of representation, further prohibits certain conduct and provides for penalties;

WHEREAS , this Council Bill in its current form is a regulation of the practice of law, although the Bill purports to exempt lawyers from the requirement of obtaining an agent's license, lawyers are still subject to disciplinary action for engaging in prohibited conduct;

WHEREAS , it has long been held in this Commonwealth that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, through its Disciplinary Committee, has the sole authority to regulate, control and review the conduct of members in good standing of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania;

WHEREAS , the Bill will also authorize agents who are not lawyers to engage in the practice of law before numerous Boards of Record;

WHEREAS , the inevitable consequence of allowing non-law-trained agents to appear and practice law in front of Boards of Record will be to the great detriment and harm of the consuming public who will engage such agents;

WHEREAS , it is strongly believed that it is the obligation of the Philadelphia Bar Association by and through its appropriate officers and committees to respond to any attempts to regulate the practice of law and to allow the unauthorized practice of law;

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association provides legal assistance to the public through its members who participate in the Lawyer Referral and Information Service;

WHEREAS , members of the Real Property Section who practice before these Boards of Record have agreed to participate and make their names available to the public through the Lawyer Referral and Information Service;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes the current language in Council Bill 970713 because, as currently drafted, the Bill would improperly regulate the practice of law and would also appear to allow non-lawyers to engage in the practice of law;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Governors endorses the amendment of Bill 970713 pursuant to the two amendments proposed by the Real Property Section at Section 9-1902(1) and 9-1902(1)(a), which amendments would clarify the issues of unauthorized practice of law before Boards of Record and the application of the disciplinary provisions of the proposed Council Bill to lawyers;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor shall take all necessary steps to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: February 26, 1998