She didn’t wear the dress, never pleaded in court, but she maintained confusion over her qualifications. This Tuesday, a 57-year-old woman was sentenced by the Evry Criminal Court to a three-month suspended prison sentence for illegal practice of the profession of lawyer. She will also have to pay 2,000 euros in non-pecuniary damage and 500 euros in legal fees to the order of lawyers of the Essonne bar, which had initiated the proceedings.
This woman, who had worked for 16 years in a law firm as a secretary, had launched her company, which bore the name Cabinet de soutien à l’insertion et à laprocedure, in 2015. Her office was located near other offices hosting lawyers. And the defendant did not hesitate to present herself “as a specialist in the procedure”.
“When we say “advice”, exercising in a “firm”, we maintain confusion in the minds of the general public, denounces the lawyer of the order. Of course on the headers, she will never mark lawyer, she is not stupid! “Services that she charged with prices of 80 to 90 euros, displayed in her office. The order also denounces the fact that she appealed to the administrative court, and accuses her of having created a website, since closed, which, even her lawyer recognizes, was “ambiguous”.
“I always wanted to do social work”
“She helped foreigners to apply for residence. The procedures have become more and more complex. It is not a lawyer’s activity, defends her counsel. She’s a former legal secretary, she’s a public writer, a translator… She uses her skills to help. » « I help foreign nationals to regularize their administrative situation. I help them write letters, and even learn French. I’ve always wanted to do social work. I only received small sums, ”says the fifty-year-old, whose last tax return reports 15,000 euros in income.
“I am moved and confused at the same time because I do not understand the facts that I am accused of,” she continues. “You have to be careful in your activity that it does not encroach on an activity of advice and representation”, warned the court.