Can I ask another person (non lawyer) to represent me?

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Latest post Tue, Sep 8 2009 3:29 PM by adjuster jack. 3 replies.
  • Tue, Sep 8 2009 7:11 AM

    Can I ask another person (non lawyer) to represent me?

    I am a landlord and I own properties in other states (not my own state). Now I would like to file law suits against my ex-tenants for unpaid rents and damage to the properties. Since I don't live in that state, I would like to check if I can use the "Power of Attorney" forms (or any other similar forms) to assign my property manager to represent me appearing in the small claims court. I understand I can not use a lawyer in small claims court. I was told I can use an non-lawyer person. Is it true?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Tue, Sep 8 2009 12:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I ask another person (non lawyer) to represent me?

    JusticeJusticeJustice:
    I was told I can use an non-lawyer person. Is it true?

    It'd be interesting to know who told you that.

    No, it's not true.

    Generally, a person who is not a lawyer cannot represent another person in court because the unlicensed practice of law is illegal and a judge will shut down that person in a heartbeat in spite of any POA.

    There are some exceptions depending on what states your properties are in.

    Some small claims rules allow a corporation to have an employee or officer appear for the corporation.

    Other states require an attorney to appear for the corporation.

    As long as you own properties in other states you'd best be prepared to either hire local attorneys to act for you or travel to appear in court on your own behalf.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Tue, Sep 8 2009 2:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I ask another person (non lawyer) to represent me?

    Thanks for the reply.

    For this case my properties are in Oregon. I checked the Oregon court web site and it says I can not hire an attorney to appear for me in the small claims court. It's "people's court", so only "lay... can appear in there.  But it doesn't say if I can ask another non-attorney person to appear on my behalf. Do you have any direct knowledge about Oregon small claims court rule regarding this?

    Thanks!

  • Tue, Sep 8 2009 3:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I ask another person (non lawyer) to represent me?

    Here's the OR statute for small claims:

    http://www.leg.state.o...

    I'm not quite sure how to interpret this but:

    • 55.040 Verification and prosecution of claim. All claims shall be verified by the real party in interest, the agent or assignee of the party. Any claim may be filed and prosecuted in the small claims department by such agent or the assignee of the cause of action upon which recovery is sought.

    Seems to indicate that you can have an agent "prosecute" the claim for you (whatever that means).

    But:

    • 55.090 Right of attorneys or persons not a party to appear; witnesses; disposition of controversy; appearance by attorney not required for certain parties. (1) Except as may otherwise be provided by ORS 55.040, no attorney at law nor any person other than the plaintiff and defendant shall become involved in or in any manner interfere with the prosecution or defense of the litigation in the department without the consent of the justice of the justice court, nor shall it be necessary to summon witnesses. But the plaintiff and defendant may offer evidence in their behalf by witnesses appearing at the hearing, and the justice may informally consult witnesses or otherwise investigate the controversy and give judgment or make such orders as the justice deems right, just and equitable for the disposition of the controversy.

    Appears to contradict that.

    You might check with your property manager in OR and see if he's been successful with lawsuits on behalf of his clients.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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