Friday, April 9, 2004
High Court Adopts Multijurisdictional Practice Rules
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court has adopted rules
allowing attorneys admitted in other states to practice in
The new rules, which take effect Nov. 15, were proposed by the Multijurisdictional Practice Implementation Committee appointed by the high court. They were adopted after more than three years of study, first by a task force that included four former State Bar presidents and then by the Supreme Court committee.
The rules establish four categories of permissible practice by out-of-state attorneys:
•“Registered Legal Services Attorneys”—Lawyers from other states who meet all requisites for admission in California other than the examination requirement may work for a “qualifying legal services provider,” such as a legal aid agency or a law school clinic, under supervision of a licensed California attorney. Attorneys in this category must apply for a determination of moral character by the State Bar, but may practice while awaiting word on those applications.
An attorney who has failed the
•“Registered In-House Counsel”—Lawyers residing in California and employed full-time as in-house counsel by a corporation, partnership, or similar entity employing at least 10 persons in this state, if found to be of good character, may practice on behalf of those employers other than in litigation.
There is no limit as to how long an attorney may practice in this category, but registration must be completed annually, and the registrant must notify the State Bar within 30 days of leaving his or her employment and must re-register upon taking an in-house position with a new employer.
“Attorneys practicing law temporarily in
Out-of-state attorneys may currently be admitted to appear pro hac vice, but this can only happen once suit is filed.
•“Non litigating attorneys temporarily in California to provide legal services”—This codifies the existing practice of allowing out-of-state lawyers temporarily present in California to advise existing clients or undertake similar tasks in connection with matters, other than litigation, in which a “material aspect” is taking place in another jurisdiction.
The rules are the culmination of a process which began with the passage of legislation sponsored by Sen. Bill Morrow, R-San Juan Capistrano.
Morrow had initially pushed for legislation that
would have allowed any lawyer licensed in another state and in good standing
for at least three years to practice in
The task force concluded that opening up full State Bar membership to out-of-state lawyers who haven’t taken the bar exam would require resolution of difficult questions such as whether to require reciprocity—particularly in light of the fact that many states will not admit California lawyers who have graduated from non-ABA accredited law schools.
The rules announced yesterday largely track the task force’s recommendations.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company