Ella is a trained paralegal who works for ABC Bank in Tucson, Arizona. One day, Barry walks into the bank to apply for a mortgage loan to purchase a new house. Ella and Barry have a long conversation about Barry taking out a mortgage. During the conversation, Barry is concerned that were he to default on his loan, his credit would be destroyed.
In response, Ella tells him:
Don’t worry about it. If you don’t pay your loan, the only remedy the bank has is to foreclose on the house. The bank cannot go after you personally and your credit score will be unaffected. I’ve been dealing with this issue for years and I’m telling you that this is the Arizona law on the matter.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Ella was incorrect. When Barry defaults on his loan the next year, his credit is badly hurt.
Barry comes to your office and meets with your supervising attorney, Rick, to discuss the possibility of suing Ella based on her statement to him and his reliance on it. Because Barry sincerely believed that what she was saying was true, Rick immediately rules out the possibility of suing her for fraud or misrepresentation. (Note: This means you should NOT deal with the possibility of suing him for fraud or misrepresentation or the like!)
Instead, Barry says to Rick, “Well, Ella isn’t a lawyer. Isn’t it wrong for her to tell me what the Arizona law is when she’s not even a lawyer?” Rick replies, “Well, I know that it’s unethical and even criminal to practice law without a license, but I don’t know if you can sue someone for unauthorized practice of law. I’ll have my star paralegal look into that.”
After Barry leaves, Rick asks you to research this question, i.e., whether Barry can sue Ella based on her unauthorized practice of law, and to get back to him with an answer. Please prepare a properly researched essay to answer Rick’s question. Please refer to Arizona Supreme Court Rule 31.