Advisory Opinion 2010-002 (Amended) states that a full-time employee may perform legal services, including a title examination, but the law does not cover independent contractors or independent abstractors.
An independent abstractor is just that — an independent contractor, not a bona fide full-time lay employee of an attorney that is his or her regular employer. Under the definition of the practice of law, a lay person may engage in the practice of law for his or her regular employer if such person is a bona fide full-time lay employee. An independent abstractor performing legal services that is not a bona fide full-time lay employee conducting those legal services for his or her regular employer (an attorney) is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
The legal services provided by Raber Law Offices, PLLC, including title examinations, are conducted by an attorney or a member of our real estate paralegal team, all of whom are full-time employees of our firm. Our clients can always rely on the title services provided by our office to be conducted in full compliance of the laws of the state of West Virginia and that our legal services are never conducted by independent lay persons engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.