Legal Alert: Georgia Employers Must Use Attorney to Answer Garnishment Summons


On September 12, 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court adopted an informal State Bar of Georgia opinion stating that any non-lawyer who answers a garnishment in Georgia is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Accordingly, as of September 12, all companies responding to a summons of garnishment in the state of Georgia must file their answer through a licensed Georgia attorney.

The Court's decision was not entirely unexpected. In June 2010, the Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law issued Advisory Opinion No. 2010-1, in which the Committee addressed the question of whether a non-attorney employee of a garnishee can file an answer to a garnishment summons without engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. The Committee decided that employers can only answer garnishment summons through a licensed Georgia attorney. The Committee premised its decision on the fact that corporations and limited liability companies have no right to self-representation, and must therefore be represented by a licensed attorney in any legal proceeding. The Committee reasoned that because a garnishment action is like any other legal proceeding, the non-attorney employees of a business cannot lawfully answer a garnishment summons.

Although the Committee's decision caused an immediate stir in the Georgia business community, most companies were not immediately impacted. Indeed, the Committee's advisory opinion was non-binding and therefore did not have the force of law. Accordingly, most employers continued to use non-attorney employees to process and file garnishment answers.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:


FordHarrison on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.