Is it legal to practice law in Utah without a license?

Is it legal to practice law in Utah without a license?

In order to practice law within the United States, either in state courts or in federal courts, an attorney must have a license to practice law in that particular jurisdiction. An attorney who practices but fails to receive their license in that jurisdiction is guilty of the unauthorized practice of law and can face civil consequences, including the loss of their privilege to practice law in any jurisdiction. The district attorney may also choose to pursue charges for fraud or misrepresentation.

A person, however, who practices law without a law degree and without a law license can be convicted of a much more serious offense. This is the case of Karla Carbo, a young woman in Summit County who held herself out as an attorney and even represented clients and even opened up her own law office. When law enforcement became aware that Carbo was not a licensed attorney, Carbo was arrested and charged with two counts of forgery and communications fraud. Both charges are felony offenses for which Carbo could be facing prison time.

When appearing in court, the Utah courts require all attorneys to state their name on the record and to state their bar number—a step which is designed to discourage people from practicing law without a license. Carbo was able to impersonate an attorney while in court by using someone else’s name and using that person’s bar number. While in court, Carbo went by the name Karla Stirling, who is an actual attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Utah and California. It was not until a Utah court contacted the real Stirling to ask about a recent court matter that the court became aware of Carbo’s fraudulent actions.

As of now, it is unclear how Carbo obtained Stirling’s name and bar number, but as law enforcement continues their investigation into Carbo, it is likely that they will uncover other court matters in which Carbo misrepresented herself. Carbo could face criminal charges from every county in which she unlawfully represented clients in court.

As for the clients of Carbo, they are being asked to contact the Utah State or their local police department. While each client that Carbo represented should be able to get a court order requiring Carbo to return any fees that were paid to her under false pretenses, whether or not Carbo will actually be able to repay these fees is another matter entirely.

For more information on this recent story, see:

  • Call Now (801) 872-2222
    Case Review
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Test Ring Me

Bridgette Anderson
I appreciate all the help, and the manner you guys presented yourself. Everyone I spoke with was... personable, knowledgeable, and prompt. Mr. Call did an amazing job helping me navigate a very tough situation, 10 out 10 would recommend!read more
Martina Pollard
I just completed a contract review with Zach (Zachary T. Hadley). He was PHENOMENAL and I would... recommend him a million times over. Not only did he go through each and every section of the contract in question thoroughly, but he did so with patience, kindness, and the best of all: with a lot of thorough explanation - unique analogies included. He was incredibly professional and knowledgable and I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to receive his help. I realize I paid for the service, but that doesn't mean this wasn't one of the most helpful and professional services I've ever experienced. Thanks Zach (and Tamara, you were wonderful as well!) for all of your help! 😁read more
Kris Stevenson
Laura Stillman
John Stewart
Mike was always a slick talker.
George LaDamus
Worked with Ben for advice on settling my father's estate. Ben asked thoughtful questions and gave... us clear answers on how to proceed. I highly recommend them for legal more
Marcus Spikes
Heidi Van Ert
Have worked with Michael Hepworth on a few issues over the past several months. I have been... impressed with every single thing about him and his legal expertise and advice! Professional, knowledgeable, kind, and able to "translate" legal-ese when it wasn't clear to me. Fair and reasonable prices. I will continue using Hepworth & Associates for any/all of my legal needs in the future! Highly recommended!read more
David Veal
After speaking with Michael on a consultation call I left very satisfied and well informed of my... legal rights.He was very professional and extremely helpful and we even had a laugh or two.If I find myself needing legal services in court I would have no hesitation to retain him to represent me.Thank you very much for your time today sir, it was a more
Megan Martinez
Only had a consultation (which cost $150 where as most are free). BUT, he gave me more options and... information for various parts of my situation that none of the other 4 consults I had gave. The $150 can be applied towards your retainer if you decide to use them and the retainer was reasonable as well. Overall, if I were in the financial position to secure an attorney for my case right now, this office would be the one I chose!read more
Next Reviews
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Filter by Categories
Utah's Legal News Headquarters