In June 2002 the Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) issued a report which covered a wide range of subjects including state judicial regulation and discipline of lawyers, the special problems of large firms moving lawyers around to work in branch offices, the use of in-house counsel not licensed in the state where they work, the particular problems of federal government and military lawyers practicing as part of their official duties in states where they are not licensed, as well as model rules for admission to practice on motion, for licensing of foreign legal consultants, and for admission pro hac vice in lawsuits. The focus of this Essay, however, is limited to just the activities which admiralty lawyers—and many other international lawyers—routinely engage in, which could be regarded by some courts or licensing authorities as the unauthorized practice of law. (P) ‘In general, a lawyer may not represent clients in court, or otherwise practice law within a particular state, unless the lawyer is licensed by the state to do so. By limiting law practice to those whom the state judiciary, through its admissions process, has deemed to be qualified to practice law in the state, a state government tries to ensure that lawyers who act on behalf of or give advice to clients in the state are competent and do so ethically. States give effect to restrictions through rules of professional conduct, which subject lawyers to the risk of sanction (in some states, criminal sanction) for practicing law within a state where they are not licensed, by treating such lawyers the same as laymen. Needless to say, a lawyer found by out-of-state authorities to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law will also have many problems at home. (P) Today, every jurisdiction permits pro hac vice admission of out-of-state lawyers appearing in court or before some other tribunal/ But for transactional and counseling work, and other activities—including work done prior to commencement of a formal proceeding—there is no counterpart to pro hac vice admission.
Michael Marks Cohen,
Ethics in the Multijurisdictional Practice of Admiralty Lawyers,
32 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1135
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol32/iss4/2