Link to Case:
Original action. Injunction issued.
NATURE OF CASE
This is an original action brought by the Nebraska Supreme Court Commission on Unauthorized Practice of Law(Commission) to enjoin Paul J. Hansen from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
In November 2011, the Commission received a complaint from legal counsel for the Nebraska State Patrol alleging that Hansen was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The complaint alleged that Hansen was “maintaining a website selling presentations on filing evictions and common lawl[ie]ns” and that Hansen was “holding himself out as a lawyer and counsel, but not as an attorney.” After an investigation,the Commission found that Hansen was not a lawyer and that he had engaged in the practice of law as defined by Neb.Ct. R. § 3-1001(A) and (B). Specifically, the Commission found that Hansen “has a webpage that offers the public‘eviction kits’ for $35 and ‘common law liens’ for $25.” The Commission also noted “[t]here may be more violations that exist . . . .”
The Commission mailed a certified letter dated February 23,2012, to Hansen at his Omaha, Nebraska, address, directing him to contact the Commission and to cease and desist from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Copies of the Commission’s written findings and this court’s rules governing the unauthorized practice of law were enclosed with this let-ter. When the letter was returned unclaimed, the Commission arranged for it to be personally served on Hansen at his Omaha address by the Douglas County sheriff’s office. Personal serv-ice on Hansen occurred on April 2 at the Omaha address shown on his Web site.
Several days later, the Commission received a written response purportedly signed by Hansen and bearing the Omaha address at which he was served. The response referred to the Commission’s letter of February 23, 2012, and included the following statements, which we quote verbatim including grammatical, typographical, and spelling errors:
1. I have never represented, in any way, in the jurisdic-tion of the United States (Land ‘of’ the United States.
2. Any material conveyed/shared by me is done withoutthe United States. Done on land not ‘of’ the United States.
3. It is my understanding United States Promulgated Court Rules are without force and effect outside of the said Jurisdiction of the United States.
4. No material I share is know to be intentionally shipped into a United States possession. If I am using a medium to convey information by a United States possession please inform me of this fact so that I may alter the rout.
5. I have never in time past held a license / associationwith/by a state Bar License.
6. Does your office consider land not owned by theUnited States the jurisdiction of the United States as toStatute 3-1001(A)(B)?
On May 30, 2012, the Commission filed a petition for injunctive relief pursuant to Neb. Ct. R. § 3-1015. The petition alleged that Hansen had been engaging in the unauthorized practice of law from October 25, 2010, to the present in the following particulars:
(A) [Hansen] has been and is giving advice or counsel,direct or indirect, to other persons as to the legal rightsof those persons, where a relationship of trust or reliance exists between [Hansen] and the persons to which such advice or counsel is given;
(B) [Hansen] has engaged in selecting, drafting, completing, and/or filing, for other persons, legal documents which affect the legal rights of those persons;
(C) [Hansen] created and maintains a webpage atwww.pauljjhansen.com, on which he sells a “Do-It-Yourself eviction kit” and a “Common Law Lien kit.”
He also blogs and responds to questions posted on thatwebpage by giving legal advice.
(D) [Hansen] is not licensed to practice law in the stateof Nebraska and thus, is unauthorized to engage in theconduct referred to herein.
From his response to the Commission’s letter informing him of its findings and his filings in this court, it appears that Hansen believes that he is not subject to state law and is free to practice law without a license so long as he does so on “land not owned by the United States.”
He is mistaken.
We adopt the findings of the hearing master that Hansen has held himself out as a lawyer authorized to practice in Nebraska and that he continues to do so.
This constitutes the unauthorized practice of law under the definition set forth in § 3-1001(E) and falls within the general prohibition of§ 3-1003 applicable to non lawyers such as Hansen. Although the Commission did not specifically allege in its petition that Hansen was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by holding himself out as being authorized to practice law, that fact is implicit in its allegations that Hansen had been giving legal advice to others. And we note that despite having an opportunity to do so, Hansen did not file exceptions to the finding of the hearing master that he “is and was holding himself out as a regular attorney practitioner in the State of Nebraska,” nor did he assert that such finding was not within the scope of this proceeding. We conclude that Hansen’s conduct is deceptive and poses the type of risk of harm to the public that our unauthorized practice rules are intended to prevent.
Accordingly, by separate order entered on June 14, 2013,Hansen is enjoined from engaging in the unauthorized prac-tice of law in any manner, including but not limited to hold-ing himself out to another as being entitled to practice law asdefined by § 3-1001.
If, as indicated by Hansen, he intends to continue as he has, his 3 years of Supervised Release, it seems to me, could be in jeopardy.
See Hansen’s blog entry November 18, 2016 at: