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You may soon need a lawyer at unemployment comp hearings

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in Human Resources

It's enough to give employers a case of whiplash.

First, Pennsylvania courts said corporate employers couldn't hire nonlawyers to help them at unemployment compensations hearings. Then the legislature reversed course, passing a law that OK'd nonlawyer representation. That should have been the end of the issue, but not yet.

Four lawyers recently filed suit, alleging that the law violates the state constitution, which gives the state Supreme Court authority to regulate the practice of law. Their argument: The legislature can't dictate who can participate in legal proceedings.

If the lawyers win, only company owners or sole proprietors will be able to represent themselves at the UI hearings. Corporate employers will have to hire attorneys or skip the proceedings. Expect a decision later this year or in early 2007. 

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