White Hat Group must pay restitution for unlicensed law practice

Former customers of the Boise-based White Hat Group may receive restitution payments under terms of a legal settlement with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says.

Lawrence Wasden

Lawrence Wasden

White Hat Group and its owner, Mark Wicklund, entered into a consent judgment, resolving allegations that the company and Wicklund engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.  In addition to requiring payment of restitution to former customers, the settlement prohibits White Hat Group and Wicklund from providing legal advice and performing other acts that constitute the practice of law in Idaho.

Former customers who believe they are eligible to receive restitution under the settlement must file a consumer complaint form with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division before December 2, 2013.  Go to: www.ag.idaho.gov or call (208) 334-2424, or toll-free in Idaho (800) 432-3545.

Former customers of White Hat Group filed many complaints with the Attorney General.  Consumers also complained they paid for services the White Hat Group agreed to, but did not do.  The Attorney General alleges Wicklund falsely represented his qualifications to represent them in legal matters.  It is a violation of the Consumer Protection Act to represent that you have qualifications you do not have.

“Consumers must be cautious of non-attorneys who advertise legal services,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says.  “Unlicensed persons too often prey on people in need of immediate legal assistance and, on occasion, consumers who do not speak English.  Paying thousands of dollars to persons who are unfamiliar with Idaho’s legal system and laws only compounds the consumers’ difficulties.”

The consent judgment also requires White Hat Group and Wicklund to pay the Attorney General’s investigation costs.  If Wicklund fails to comply with the judgment terms, he could pay a $50,000 penalty.

The Attorney General recommends consumers speak with a licensed attorney if they have questions about their legal rights or options. Consumers may contact the state licensing agency to make sure an attorney is licensed in the state where they need help. In Idaho, call the Idaho State Bar at (208) 334-4500 or got to www.isb.idaho.gov.

– Bob Cooper, Office of Idaho Attorney General

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “White Hat Group must pay restitution for unlicensed law practice

  1. Mark Burrows

    This is one thing that throws me. Why would anyone who obviously has some smattering of intelligence practice law without being licensed in the state? They are going to get caught.
    Yes, I know there is a gray area where they refer to some lawyers as sharks and ambulance chasers, but these are often just either young rookies maintaining cash flow for the firm or independent lawyers that do not work for a firm.
    Still, when dealing with lawyers, it is simple. You ask that the work you ask of them is put into a contract where you should be compensated if they fail to detail and document their activities involving your case or situation. They know this, but they don’t tell you if you don’t ask. If you just hand a retainer to a lawyer, shake his or her hand and walk out of the office, they will be out the back door cashing that check before you start your car. If you inquired later about developments on your case, they can tell you it is a work in progress. No, we should not trust lawyers, but if you demand a written contract and within that contract documented reports, the lawyer must by law, comply.
    If a lawyer refuses to work for you under contract, they that will be damaging to his or her career. Word travels fast and lawyers rejecting clients because the client has stipulations about a contract instead of a handshake, then everyone, both prospective clientele and others in the legal community which is highly competitive will be wondering what this lawyer is up to or hiding.
    Point being. Always remember this phrase. ” I want that in writing please, signed and documented.” Never accept any argument or refusal.

    Mark Burrows

  2. Freedom Lover

    I thought this was America? Aren’t we suppose to be free? Why are we required to hire someone who is approved by the state to practice law? Free men have no need for such things. I guess we are no longer free then?

    • Mark Burrows

      So, you are you suggesting that you should be free to do anything you want? Are you implying that free men, and I noticed you didn’t say people which tells me a lot, do not required to have laws or obey them?
      Laws of the land are designed to protect your rights to freedom. If you don’t like a law, then you can campaign to have it changed through due process. Yes, you have the right and freedom to do that.
      But there are reasons why lawyers have to register and be licensed in a state. This is so they try to run rampant and start selling their services beyond their jurisdiction. To which is a standard law to anyone selling anything, you must be licensed to do so in that area.
      By the way, you do have the freedom to hire an out of state lawyer. That lawyer just has to request and pay for a temporary license to practice during the term of your incarceration and trial.
      For what ever reason this White Hat Group chose not to operate without a license is a strange thing. The cost of licensing is not a back breaker. Now of course in the process of being licensed and getting checked out for any previous inappropriate behavior that would cause a license to be denied, that would likely provide and explanation. These guys should be wearing black hats.

      Mark Burrows

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