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Pressler and Pressler to end?


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maybe an end to Pressler and Pressler ?

 

 

" With over 300 employees and 19 attorneys, Pressler and Pressler, LLP provides a total retail collection environment including skip-tracing and asset location."

 

 

 

Under the FDCPA, the law firms are allow some safe harbor language; "FDCPA case law provides that when a law firm sends a debtor a collection letter and clearly explains that no lawyer has reviewed the file, the law firm is not acting in a "lawyer capacity" but, rather, is acting as a mere lay debt collector "

 

However, the New jersey Rules of Civil Procedure state otherwise, and these statutes govern New jersey lawyers and collection agencies -

 

"While a lawyer may engage in a nonlegal or lay debt collection business, a lawyer may not operate that nonlegal business from a law firm. Therefore, a New Jersey law firm may not engage in the lay debt collection business. "

 

 

 

 

http://consumerfsblo...06/n120530b.pdf

 

 

 

Binding on New Jersey Collection Agencies and Attorneys only

 

- sending Collection letters on a lawfirm letterhead w/o attorney review

 

Violates the Rules of Civil Procedure of the state of New Jersey.

 

The Court requested the Committees to review these opinions after it imposed discipline on a New Jersey lawyer for having lent his name and letterhead to a collection agency in exchange for a monthly fee. The lawyer permitted the collection agency to use his law firm letterhead and status as an attorney. Collection agency employees, not the lawyer, exercised judgment in collection efforts. The collection agency was found to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and the lawyer was found to have violated RPC 5.5(a)(2) (assisting a nonlawyer in the unauthorized practice of law) and RPC 8.4© (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation).

 

As the UPL Committee expressly stated forty years ago in Opinion 8, 95 N.J.L.J. 105 (February 10, 1972), when a collection agency sends a letter to a debtor threatening legal action or implying that the collection letter is sent at the direction of a lawyer, the agency is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. In contrast, when a law firm sends a debtor a collection letter, the recipient has reason to believe that "there has been an evaluation by an attorney of the claim asserted with a determination by the attorney that proceedings to enforce collection are warranted."

 

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While the FDCPA arguably permits a law firm to send debt collection letters in a lay capacity, New Jersey ethics rules have always prohibited the practice. The ACPE, in Opinion 657, 130 N.J.L.J. 656 (February 24, 1992), 1 N.J.L. 129 (February 17, 1992), found that a lawyer may engage in both a legal and a nonlegal business provided the two businesses are entirely separate, in physically distinct locations, and there is no joint advertising or marketing or demonstration of a relationship between the two businesses. Hence, while a lawyer may engage in a nonlegal or lay debt collection business, a lawyer may not operate that nonlegal business from a law firm. Therefore, a New Jersey law firm may not engage in the lay debt collection business.

 

 

 

Since the UPL Committee issued Opinion 8 in 1972, it has been clear that lawyers who send collection letters are engaged in the practice of law. A lawyer cannot disclaim the fact that he or she is engaging in the practice of law when using law firm letterhead. A lawyer who has not reviewed the file, made appropriate inquiry, and exercised professional judgment has engaged in an incompetent and grossly negligent practice of law in violation of RPC 1.1(a)

 

. A lawyer who permits office staff, or a client, to send collection letters when the lawyer has not individually reviewed the file, made appropriate inquiry, and exercised professional judgment, is assisting in unauthorized practice of law in violation of RPC 5.5(a)(2) and engaging in deceitful conduct in violation of RPC 8.4©.

 

Accordingly, UPLC Opinion 8 and ACPE Opinions 259 and 506 are hereby reaffirmed. A lawyer who fails to exercise professional judgment by independently evaluating collection demands and determining that proceedings to enforce collection are warranted before sending a debt collection letter on law firm letterhead fails to satisfy ethical requirements of competence and has committed gross negligence.

 

 

Possibly this could be extended to law firm /CA's from other states who send letter out collection letters using a Law firm letterhead and NO attorney has reviewed,

 

- is the out of state lawfirm violating the NJ RCP's when they send a letter without meaningful involvment? probably is if the out of state lawfirm is also passed the NJ bar and is licencsed to practice in NJ as well as the home state.

 

 

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This NJ resident approves of this. :good:

 

There was also a ruling or law introduced in NJ in regards to debt collectors that "No debt collector may use the verbage 'we intend to sue to collect on this debt' unless they actually were prepared or going to in fact sue to collect." I forget the ruling, but I remember hearing about it some years ago. Some kind of "Consumer Debt Collection Protection" law.

 

Also, I have never received any correspondence from a NJ debt collector. They have always been based in some other state. No examples I can give, just any state not NJ.

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