The State Bar of Arizona is partnering with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help launch a statewide initiative against the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law.

The Bar has noted that notario fraud is becoming a growing concern in Arizona. In that effort, there will be a press briefing on Tuesday, July 17, at 9:30 a.m.

Here is the Bar’s press release:

Media Advisory               July 12, 2012

USCIS & Partners Launch Arizona Initiative to Fight Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law

Victim of Immigration Scam Shares His Story

PHOENIX, Arizona – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomes the press to a briefing about combating scams that target immigrants. USCIS and its partners will officially launch the initiative to fight the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law (UPIL) within the state of Arizona.

USCIS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State Bar of Arizona will present the keys to this initiative—enforcement, education and collaboration—and a victim of an immigration scam will share his own experiences.

UPIL endangers the integrity of our immigration system and victimizes members of the immigrant community. This national initiative was launched in 2011 to raise awareness about and fight UPIL. USCIS District and Field Offices have developed and solidified local, state and federal partnerships to launch the UPIL initiative throughout the country.

The other federal, state and local partners who will be on hand for the briefing include the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office;  the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Information and Complaints; Arizona State Supreme Court; City Attorney, Phoenix; Mesa Police Department; Phoenix Police Department.

WHAT: Press Briefing – Launch of Initiative to Fight Immigration Scams in Arizona 
WHEN: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 9:30 a.m.  
WHERE: USCIS Phoenix Office, 1330 S. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034 
CONTACTS: Marie Sebrechts, USCIS,, 949-500-1544Rick DeBruhl, State Bar of Arizona,, 602-340-7335 
NOTE: The victim of an immigration scam and officials from federal, state and local partners in the UPIL effort will be available for one-on-one interviews after the briefing.Members of the press are asked to arrive in time to go through security.

An intriguing post was published today over at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. (Haven’t bookmarked it yet? What are you waiting for?)

In it, reporter Joe Palazzolo examines a unique company structure and muses on the issue of “When a Company Sounds Suspiciously Like a Law Firm.” The companies are legal staffing firms.

As Palazzolo notes, many of these firms go so far as to tout the depth of experience and legal expertise available to customers (clients?). And if they do that, “And if they’re not law firms, then the question is this: What services can they provide without violating regulations that prohibit them from practicing law?”

The question is not a hypothetical one. He points out that a regulatory committee of the D.C. Court of Appeals—the District’s equivalent of a state high court—has drafted an opinion on the matter (“Applicability of Rule 49 to Discovery Services Companies”). You can read it here.

What do you think of the situation? Do you see similar activities in Arizona that give you pause?