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Legal Professionals Section Adviser: Notary Law Expert Michael Closen

This month, the NNA’s Legal Professionals Section covered topics such as unauthorized practice of law, attorney-client privilege and certification for paralegals. To deliver this level of industry-specific information to Notaries, the NNA has developed a distinguished Advisory Panel for each of its six Professional Sections. In this Advisor Spotlight, we introduce you to Notary law expert Michael Closen.

Michael Closen, Professor Emeritus at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the foremost experts on Notary law in the United States today. During his 35 years in the legal profession, he has served as a law professor, a practicing attorney, a prosecutor in the Cook County, Illinois, State Attorney’s office, and many other areas of the law. He has litigated numerous cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Illinois, and has served as an expert witness on Notary issues in a number of court cases. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bradley University and his juris doctorate from the University of Illinois.

Closen is a leading instructor on Notary law and procedures. He has served as a Notary Public for more than 20 years, first in Illinois and then Florida, and co-authored the only law school textbook on Notary law and practice, along with 10 extensive law review articles about Notary law and many other published papers on Notary issues. He has taught Notary education programs in numerous states.

A respected consultant on model Notary statutes and legislation, Closen served on the drafting committees for the 1998 Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility, the 2002 Model Notary Act, and the 2010 Model Notary Act. He was honored by the NNA with its March Fong Eu Achievement Award in 1998 and with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.


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Marketa Kristofek

12 Aug 2014

Notary Public Notarized an Annuity Application for her employer, which I was never aware of nor did I authorize the Application since I was not eligible. MEABF is saying I retired, when I never retired nor was I allowed to interview with a Application Processor. I did inform them the information that was later put on the Application was untrue. When I attempt to contact the Notary Public I discovered she was discharged in 11-3-2012. I did call the Secretary State and two Investigators later came to my home to interview me. I was later called by the Investigator who informed me that the Notary Public did nothing wrong. The Signature on the Application was mine, so the Notary did nothing wrong. The Notary Public was a employee who was able to supply questions regarding to the Applications. MEABF also allowed their in-house Notaries to supply personal information to a Union Attorney who became a adversary after I was issued an Award in my favor. I was later provided all the emails regarding to the events involving MEABF attempt to get me to sign a letter using their letter-head stating "I HAVE NO INTENT TO RETURN TO WORK". I thought that was strange, since I never worked for them, it was later when I discovered the Annuity Documents and since I never had the opportunity to interview with a Application Processor to know if I qualified for a monthly Annuity. The Notary Public was related to the Administrative Clerk whom I gave the incomplete Application to. I never met nor gave any Identification to a Notary Public to Notarize a Application that was incomplete. I am trying to understand what can you do when the City of Chicago has ties with MEABF and MEABF use their own Notary Public then cover it up by Terminated the Administrative Clerk 11-2-2012 and the Notary Public 11-3-2012. Please if you have answers, I need all the help.

National Notary Association

12 Aug 2014

Hello Marketa, While we can answer questions regarding notarial rules and best practices, we cannot offer you legal advice regarding your situation. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or criminal activity involving a Notary Public, we recommend you contact local law enforcement or your state Attorney General's office. If you wish to file a legal claim or lawsuit against a Notary or the Notary's employer, we recommend that you contact a qualified attorney for assistance.

Rory C. Bowman

16 Oct 2015

I am doing some legal research on weather or not an investigator for the Attorney General's office can, in his/her normal job duties, prepare affidavits, create the word choice, have the affiant sign and then notorize the same. Is this a conflict and/or practicing law without a law license?

National Notary Association

19 Oct 2015

Hello. We're sorry, but we can't answer legal questions regarding the duties of non-Notary government employees. You would need to ask an attorney or other legal expert familiar with the relevant section of your state's laws for assistance.

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