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Notary Publics are NOT Lawyers

Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oregon LSC Funded
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Notary Publics are NOT Lawyers

A notary public in the United States is NOT the same as a Notary Public in Mexico. In the United States, unlike Mexico, almost anyone can be a notary public. A notary public is not trained in the law or a graduate of a law school, and is not a lawyer.

In the United States, notary public cannot give legal advice and cannot prepare legal papers. A notary is only an official witness when you sign your name to papers or when papers are being copied for official use.

In Oregon, a notary public who works in the Spanish language must tell you when s/he is NOT a lawyer. A specific law requires that a notary’s advertisements and signs in the office say “I am not licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and I am not permitted to give legal advice on immigration or other legal matters or to accept fees for legal advice.” If you know a person is only a notary do not ask him/her for legal advice or rely on legal advice s/he gives you. Talk to a lawyer.

In Oregon, a notary public can charge only $5.00 for witnessing your signature and only $5.00 for certifying a copy of a document. When you need legal advice or help in preparing legal papers, such as immigration papers, please see a lawyer.

Last Review and Update: Nov 19, 2002