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Jay Carter had an agreement with Kerry Flaherty, a paralegal, to provide "legal advice/Paralegal [services]" and paid $3,500. Dissatisfied with Flaherty's work, Carter sued for a refund of the money, while Flaherty countersued to recover an outstanding balance of $750.

Although the Nassau County District Court sided with Carter, and directed that the $3500 be returned, on appeal, the Appellate Term, Second Department, opted to throw the entire case out.

Since a person is "practicing law" when "legal advice" is given, and Flaherty wasn't an attorney, the entire arrangement was viewed as an "illegal contract." Rather than give anyone relief, the AT2 decided "to leave the parties where they are."

Heed that free advice.

To view a copy of the Appellate Term's decision, please use this link: Carter v. Flaherty