Is it OK to file legal documents secretly prepared by an attorney?


For the attorney, this is called ghostwriting. Whether it is allowed depends on the jurisdiction and the specific court. For instance, in Massachusetts it has been allowed in the probate and family court in certain counties since 1 November 2006. When this ghostwriting is done, the filing must state it was “Prepared with the assistance of counsel” conspicuously. However, it is not allowed in other courts in Massachusetts. It is also not permitted in any federal court in Massachusetts, and presumably none in the entire country. Some courts have taken a hard stance against ghostwriting and warned that not only will the offending attorney be subject to sanctions or discipline, but the pro se filer himself. So if you are considering filing a ghostwritten pleading, you should make sure that it is permitted in the particular jurisdiction and court you plan to file the pleading in. For legal advice with respect to this issue, feel free to call this office.

Contact: George E. Bourguignon, Jr., Esq.

Tel: (413) 746-8008



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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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