Bench & Bar

JAN 2018

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

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| JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 46 It may sometimes be assumed that filling out a form as part of an administrative process might not fall under this definition. Many administrative functions employed today do depend on the prom- ulgation of standard forms as well as the perfunctory collection and reporting of information. Many such set forms and standard pro- cesses have been put into place in order to assist with the efficient administration of justice and to speed up the processing of recurrent matters that are handled in a more or less predictable fashion. It is tempting for lay-persons to assume that only a layman's under- standing of the legal principles at play may be necessary to fulfill some of the more ministerial tasks associated with such administra- tion. However, it is well recognized that while the promulgation of set and accepted forms and standard procedures increases efficiency and permits more uniform administration of justice, they do not, in and of themselves, supplant the need for a trained legal under- standing of the legal implications inherent within those processes. Such an understanding is essential, and the legal implications of information submitted in this manner cannot be dismissed. 2 It is well recognized in Kentucky that the practice of law may be assumed to have taken place through the application of legal analysis and advice implied in what might otherwise be considered purely ministerial aspects of claim adjudication and extrajudicial resolution. 3 KBA U-61 specifically applied this principle with regard to insurance adjustor involvement in the settlement of claims which are properly before an adjudicative body at a court ordered mediation: "Court ordered Mediation" is more than settlement nego- tiations. e process involves assessment of the strength of legal claims and defenses, damage calculations, proof prob- lems, procedural compliance, evidentiary considerations, knowledge of venue specific issues and other matters which require legal skill and knowledge. Certainly those appearing on behalf of third parties at mediation are "representing" them. As such this activity falls within the definition of "the practice of law" and may be conducted only by licensed attorneys. Certainly, the same factors at play in the settlement contemplated in KBA U-61 are equally at play in other settlements as well. e same set of skills and the same considerations must be applied to effectively assist a party contemplating such a resolution. erefore, it must be concluded that fulfillment of ministerial func- tions relating to settlement of claims and other administrative and procedural matters meets the standard set forth in SCR 3.020 if those functions require the application of "legal knowledge or legal advice, whether of representation, counsel or advocacy in or out of court, rendered in respect to the rights, duties, obligations, liabilities, BAR NEWS The University of Alabama School of Law's online LL.M. programs deliver live lectures by leading scholars and practitioners from across the country to wherever you are. Start earning your degree now and experience the powerful, interactive connection of live online instruction. AlabamaLLM.ua.edu/bench Earn your LL.M. in Tax or Business Transactions online Outstanding results for you and your clients

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