Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Administrative adjudication has become an essential aspect of the American system of government as the need for dispute resolution outside the courtroom increases. To foster alternative dispute resolution, the authorization of nonlawyers to appear as representatives in administrative proceedings presents a viable response to increasing litigation costs and a burdened court system. Accordingly, the federal administrative system, through broad enabling statutes, allows individual agencies to prescribe the proper scope of nonlawyer representation of clients during agency proceedings.1 The individual states, however,have not adopted such a uniform approach. The inability of the individual states to establish an adequate regulatory system largely can be traced to separation of powers concerns regarding the proper regulatory body to govern representation in quasi-judicial proceedings before state administrative agencies. The failure of states to prescribe guidelines for nonlawyer representation presents significant due process concerns and may result in inconsistent ad hoc determinations. To prevent potential unauthorized practice of law violations, the individual states, in accordance with each particular state's regulatory scheme, should clarify the proper scope of nonlawyer representation before the state administrative system.