There are all sorts of reasons why someone might find it expedient to hire a lawyer from a
state other than the state of their principal
place of business or residence. The most common reason? When someone wants to acquire or sell real estate in a state where they don't live. It may be, too, that people have to address legal issues out-of-state.
As is normally the case, an attorney will be cleared to
practice in the state in which they are representing a client. This holds
whether contracts are up for negotiation or litigation has been filed. A lot of
jurisdictions do allow exceptions to the general rule.
For instance, there are states that allow attorneys
who are licensed in another state to represent a client “pro hac vice” or “for this case.” To be admitted pro hac vice, the lawyer has to be admitted
in another state and petition the local court to admit
him or her to represent the client in a particular matter. The local court could
accept the petition, reject
the petition, or grant the petition with certain
qualifications. To clarify, the local court might require
the out-of-state attorney to practice with an attorney licensed in the state. The reason for this requirement
is to better help the
client by providing local counsel who’s more conversant with local rules, state laws,
and state processes.
Going beyond pro hac vice
practice, lawyers could be cleared
in another state through reciprocity. By virtue of reciprocity, a lawyer could
be extended admission to the bar of some
other state which does not limit the lawyer to representing a client in a single matter. This procedure is a
possibility when the lawyer
is licensed in a state that would respect the
other state’s attorney licenses. Usually, the lawyer must
have practiced for a set number of
years in one state before the second state will grant a
license to practice law.
More convenient travel
and communication has increased circumstances
where contact with other states exists. This could certainly lead to someone
needing legal representation out of state. In these
situations, it may be best to obtain the services of local counsel. Other cases may be better handled by asking that your legal representative
be allowed pro hac vice or
admitted to the bar in accommodation of reciprocity, if applicable.
If regular representation so
consents, the extra financial
outlays for travel ought to be discussed
as part of the fee arrangement. Typically the client
agrees to take on these further
costs, assuming normal
representation is fully prepared to travel to the other state.