If someone gives legal advice without a license, that’s called the unauthorized practice of law (UPL). In California, only attorneys can give legal advice. If an attorney loses his or her license to practice, but continues to take and advise clients, that’s also considered the unauthorized practice of law.
If you feel you’ve been the target of an unethical adviser, you can file an unauthorized practice of law complaint with the State Bar. There is no charge to file a complaint. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to file a complaint. The State Bar does not ask for or track immigration or citizenship status.
The State Bar works with other law enforcement agencies to investigate when someone violates the law. Here are some situations where you may want to file a complaint: