Alabama Multijurisdictional Practice and Admission Pro Hac Vice

In compliance with Alabama bar and court rules, Georgia attorney (and Alabama native) Ken Shigley occasionally works on truck and bus accident matters in Alabama on a temporary or incidental basis related to potential mediation prior to suit.

When litigation has been required in such cases, Mr. Shigley has been admitted pro hac vice to work in association with local Alabama counsel on all phases of the case up to and including trial and appeals. This flexibility allows investigation of a case and determination of the best venue prior to selecting local counsel in the locality.

Like most states, Alabama has adopted a version of the American Bar Association Model Rule 5.5 on multijurisdictional practice.  Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5 (b) provides in part:
 
(b) Subject to the requirements of Rule VII, Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar (Admission of Foreign Attorneys Pro Hac Vice), a lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction but not in the State of Alabama (and not disbarred or suspended from practice in that or any jurisdiction) does not engage in the unauthorized practice of law when the lawyer represents a client on a temporary or incidental basis (as defined below) in the State of Alabama. Services for a client are within the provisions of this subsection if the services:

(1) are performed on a temporary basis by a lawyer admitted and in good standing in another United States jurisdiction, including transactional, counseling, or other nonlitigation services that arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice;

(2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding held or to be held in this or in another jurisdiction .

In addition, an Alabama Court Rule VII, Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama State Bar, Pro Hac Vice permits an attorney licensed and in good standing in another state to appear as counsel pro hac vice before any Alabama court in association with an Alabama attorney in good standing as local counsel, after filing a verified application for admission to practice in the particular case.

Local counsel must appear on all pleadings and all court appearances with the out of state attorney, unless specifically excused by the court. The pro hac vice application is now filed on a prescribed form online through the local counsel, and must be accompanied by payment of a $300 application fee and $25 client security fund assessment. 

While there are exceptions, generally an out of state attorney is not allowed to appear pro hac vice in more than five cases in a 12 month period.  An attorney admitted pro hac vice in Alabama must make a quarterly report to the Alabama Bar that includes a listing of all cases in which he or she has appeared  pro hac vice in the previous 12 months.

Alabama, like Georgia, has a two year statute of limitation for personal injury and wrongful death cases. There are a number of important distinctions between Alabama and Georgia tort law, which exceed the scope of this summary. However, truck and bus accident cases are generally governed in both states by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.