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In Defense of the Lay

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concerned that a position he was advocating would not prevail against sophisticated opposition we were mounting through our lobbying organizations, a legislative staffer decided on a strategy of filing a lawsuit against us accusing us of practicing law without a license by virtue of th legal nature of the legislation we were promoting. his challenge was taken seriously enough by my colleagues that in a secret meeting they were all in favor of suspending our initiative. i alone urged continuing our efforts and i vowed to persist even if as a group they decided to abandon their project, even if they were to disassociate from me when i continued my own efforts, even if they themselves tried to bar me from continuing my own efforts, even if i remained alone

i gave a speech about how th ordinary everyday person ought be encouraged to participate in any way in th recommendation and support of legislation, even to the extent of recommending th exact language that was to go into th law, lest we become a society ruled by th very elite. i reminded them that our country was founded by men and women who were not lawyers. that while non-lawyers certainly ought not practice law in judging and carrying out th law many certain circumstances, just as we don’t look to lawyers to be th police who enforce our laws, likewise th making of laws must not be th exclusive province of lawyers

That, the tail-end of a longer dream from about a week ago, losing the pieces relating to a student I’d been tutoring tutoring to the haze of waking.

This closing segment is one of those dreams that doesn’t venture off into absurd fantasies of illogical twists, but instead could almost be witnessed on any given ordinary day of mine. Once at an Enrolled Actuaries Meeting, I was a co-speaker for a session on unlicensed practice of law, and I’ve always pointed out that although Circular 230 does explicitly recognize enrolled actuaries’ authority to practice before the IRS with respect to certain prescribed sections of the tax code, even Circular 230 takes care to qualify that authority as not giving an enrolled actuary the right to engage in unlicensed practice of law. OK, but where is the line between applying the law in accordance with acceptable actuarial practice versus unlawfully engaging in unauthorized legal practice? As but one example, may any actuary even stand up to speak at the Enrolled Actuaries Meeting anymore, or should the speakers’ podiums be reserved solely for pension lawyers?

Without giving out any confidential details, a project with which I am currently involved has been considering one argument hypothesizing a “workaround,” which would essentially involve faking certain activities in order to achieve a result not otherwise available were a particular rule to be enunciated in regulations. The suggestion then being that absent additional direction from Congress, the government would have not have the regulatory authority to bar the workaround. Say what? This, on a project that presumably finds sufficient authority to write the rule that would be the sole reason for the workaround being fabricated. So what am I missing, how does the government have the authority to establish a rule with enough substance to it for there to be a concrete workaround threatened, but that very same authority does not give the government sufficient muscle to do anything about the workaround? Seems to me that if the government doesn’t have the authority to stop the workaround, then it don’t have the authority to set the rule itself, since both actions are based on defining the same term. Maybe I’m veering too close to practicing law to opine about what the government has the authority to do, but I really fail to see the distinction here.

I don’t see that distinction, but I do very strongly believe and advocate and promote the position that my dream took. Without any qualification whatsoever, I respect and value the work that our lawyers do for us; and I fully agree that the practice of law ought be restricted to licensed attorneys. But much the same as we don’t leave enforcement of the law to attorneys, likewise the development of law must include non-lawyer experts, advocacy groups and ordinary citizens.

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Aftermath Afterlife:


Written by macheide

17 January 2015 at 7:05 am

Posted in oneirra

Tagged with , , ,


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