Latino Law Caucus Sheds Light on the Unauthorized Practice of Law by Notarios

Friday, February 4 2011

By Donna Emert

MOSCOW, Idaho – Individuals and organizations billing themselves as “notarios publicos” are misrepresenting themselves and their clients.

The notarios, who lack credentials to legally practice law, promise “notary” services to recently arrived immigrants, but instead provide expensive and potentially harmful “representation.” Their would-be “clients” are vulnerable to confusion because some “notary” services in other countries are beyond the functions of “notaries public” in the United States.

To inform students, faculty, the Latino community and the community at large about notarios, and the potentially damaging impacts of services undertaken by unqualified or unlicensed persons, the University of Idaho's Latino Law Caucus offers a panel discussion, titled “The Unauthorized Practice of Law: The Effect of Notarios on the Latino Community,” at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 9, in room 104, in the College of Law on the Moscow campus.

Panel speakers will include Monica Salazar of Catholic Charities of Idaho; Ricardo Pineda, Mexican Consul to Idaho; and University of Idaho College of law Dean Don Burnett.

Salazar, a law graduate from the University of California-Hastings, is currently the only legal aid immigration attorney in the State of Idaho working for the Immigration Legal Services Program for Catholic Charities of Idaho in Nampa. The program helps immigrants with a variety of cases, provides community education on issues impacting the community, and conducts citizenship classes, among several other projects.

Pineda, a former Deputy Consul-General at the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego, also has served as the political and border advisor to the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC. In Idaho, Pineda and the Consulate also facilitate trade and economic development between Idaho and Mexico, promoting cultural exchanges and education, and helping Mexicans with their travel documents. The Consul also assists Mexicans living in Montana.

The Latino Law Caucus student organization at the College of Law is sponsoring the event.
In addition to the panel discussion, another student organization, the Public Interest Law Group, will host a “brown bag” lunch with Salazar, who will speak on public interest work. That event is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the Menard Law Building.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit