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Multi-jurisdictional Practice

Related imageAmerican lawyers are licensed to practice in particular states and in specific federal courts. Handling cases in courts of other jurisdictions requires special permission. In the early twentieth century, states adopted "unauthorized practice of law" rules that apply to both lawyers licensed in other states and to non-lawyers. These laws restrict lawyers to practicing in states where they are licensed but have long allowed lawyers to be admitted pro hac vice for specific cases in other states. 

Jurisdictional restrictions on law practice were not a problem when most clients' legal matters were confined to a single state and a lawyer's knowledge of the home state's law was of extreme importance. However, the changing nature of legal needs and the changing nature of law practice, and growing complexity of specialized matters, required  more specialization that crosses state lines.  As travel and commerce became increasingly easier, and specialized litigation spread across state lines, the need for more flexible rules became obvious.

 In response to these changes in law, commerce and growing specialization, American Bar Association Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5 was developed to authorize "multi-jurisdictional practice" in states that adopt the rule. Most states, including Georgia have adopted some version of that rule


(a) A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so.
(b) A Domestic Lawyer shall not:
(1) except as authorized by these Rules or other law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or
(2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the Domestic Lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.
(c) A Domestic Lawyer, who is not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction that:
(1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter;
(2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in this or another jurisdiction, if the Domestic Lawyer, or a person the Domestic Lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;
(3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the Domestic Lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the Domestic Lawyer is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(4) are not within paragraphs (c) (2) or (c) (3) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the Domestic Lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the Domestic Lawyer is admitted to practice.
(d) A Domestic Lawyer, who is not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that:
(1) are provided to the Domestic Lawyer's employer or its organizational affiliates and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(2) are services that the Domestic Lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.
(e) A Foreign Lawyer shall not, except as authorized by this Rule or other law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law, or hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction. Such a Foreign Lawyer does not engage in the unauthorized practice of law in this jurisdiction when on a temporary basis the Foreign Lawyer performs services in this jurisdiction that:
(1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter;
(2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal held or to be held in a jurisdiction outside the United States if the Foreign Lawyer, or a person the Foreign Lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or by order of the tribunal to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;
(3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceedings held or to be held in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the Foreign Lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice;
(4) are not within paragraphs (e) (2) or (e) (3) and
(i) are performed for a client who resides or has an office in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is authorized to practice to the extent of that authorization; or
(ii) arise out of or are reasonably related to a matter that has a substantial connection to a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is authorized to practice to the extent of that authorization; or
(iii) are governed primarily by international law or the law of a non-United States jurisdiction.
(f) A Foreign Lawyer who is not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction subject to the following conditions:
(1) The services are provided to the Foreign Lawyer's employer or its organizational affiliates and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; and
(2) The Foreign Lawyer is and remains in this country in lawful immigration status and complies with all relevant provisions of United States immigration laws.
(g) For purposes of the grants of authority found in subsections (e) and (f) above, the Foreign Lawyer must be a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign jurisdiction, the members of which are admitted to practice as lawyers or counselors at law or the equivalent and subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or a public authority.
(h) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XXI, Rule 121, Provision Of Legal Services Following Determination Of Major Disaster, may provide legal services in this state to the extent allowed by said Rules.
(i) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XV, Rules 91-95, Student Practice Rule, may provide legal services in this state to the extent allowed by said Rules.
(j) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XVI, Rules 97-103, Law School Graduates, may provide legal services in this state to the extent allowed by said Rules.
(k) A person who is not a member of the State Bar of Georgia, but who is allowed to practice law in Georgia on a limited basis pursuant to Supreme Court of Georgia Rules Part XX, Rules 114-120, Extended Public Service Program, may provide legal services in this state to the extent allowed by said Rules.
(l) Any domestic or foreign lawyer who has been admitted to the practice of law in Georgia pro hac vice, pursuant to the Uniform Rules of the various classes of courts in Georgia, shall pay all required fees and costs annually as set forth in those Rules. Failure to pay the annual fee by January 15 of each year of admission pro hac vice will result in a late fee of $100 that must be paid no later than March 1 of that year. Failure to pay the annual fees may result in disciplinary action, and said lawyer may be subject to prosecution under the unauthorized practice of law statutes of this state.
 
The maximum penalty for a violation of this Rule is disbarment.

Neighboring states that have adopted the same or similar rules on multi-jurisdictional practice include Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. We are able to handle preliminary matters on potential cases, particularly within our focus of catastrophic truck and bus crash cases, in those states after carefully reviewing the rules each time to assure compliance. 

For example, we have handled tractor crash wrongful death cases arising out of incidents involving Georgia residents in neighboring states. If it becomes necessary to file suit in one of those states, then after investigation and evaluation of venue options and legal issues, we associate the best available local attorney in the locality where the suit must be filed. 

Client Reviews
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"I have collaborated with Mr. Shigley on several initiatives within Georgia’s Judiciary over the past few years and found him to be a persistent and attentive individual. Ken has taken great pride in his involvement with the projects that I have worked on and he is good at influencing success. Despite his hectic schedule, Ken has always made time to discuss, research and review ideas for the best way to accomplish goals. I look forward to a continued working relationship in this and future roles." Jorge B., CIO, Judicial Council of Georgia
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