AR Senate Bill 72 | NNA
Law

AR Senate Bill 72

Notary Law Update: AR Senate Bill 72

State: Arkansas

Summary:

Senate Bill 72 allows a Notary Public to advertise using the terms notario”, “notario publico”, or any similar term if the Notary follows certain prescribed rules.

Signed:  February 07, 2005

Effective:  August 11, 2005

Chapter: Act 66

Affects:

Adds a new chapter to Arkansas Code Title 4

Changes:
  1. Defines “practice of law” as: (a) Holding out to the public that one is entitled to practice law; (b) Providing legal advice or services; (c) Furnishing attorneys or counsel; (d) Rendering any legal services in actions or proceedings of any nature; (e) Acting or assuming that one is entitled to practice law; or (f) Advertising or assuming the title of “lawyer”, “attorney at law”, or equivalent terms in a manner that conveys one is entitled to practice law.
  2. Prohibits any person from advertising services using the term “notario”, “notario publico”, or any similar term unless the person is a Notary Public as defined under the law and the person complies with the notice requirement. (See #4)
  3. Defines “person” as “an individual, organization, association, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, or any combination of them.” Defines “Notary Public” as a person duly appointed or commissioned under Arkansas Code Section 21-14-101.
  4. Requires a nonattorney Notary who advertises using the term “notario publico” or similar term to post a prescribed notice in the advertisement that the Notary is not an attorney and cannot offer legal advice or services, and that the Notary is not a representative of any governmental agency with authority over immigration or citizenship. The notice must be posted in both English and Spanish.
  5. Stipulates that a violation of the chapter is a deceptive trade act or practice under §§ 4-88-101 – 4-88-115.
Analysis:

Arkansas provides an ill-advised twist to the typical “notario” advertising laws being enacted in the past few months by several states. The law allows – instead of prohibits –  a duly commissioned Notary to advertise using the Spanish terms “notario” and “notario publico” if the ad contains the prescribed notice in both English and Spanish. No other state prescribing rules for non-English notarial advertising allows use of the aforementioned terms under any circumstances – by a Notary or any other person. It is difficult to conceive how this law will protect the public; on the contrary, even with the requirement of the written notice, the law is likely to engender similar confusion among immigrants from Latin countries as before.

Nevertheless, the new definition of “practice of law” is a welcome addition to the law and it will remind Notaries that as nonattorneys they may not engage in activities which constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

Read the bill text.

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