There are lots of reasons why people might find it necessary to hire an attorney in a
state different from the state of their principal
place of business or they personally
live. Often this is the case when a person wants to buy or in some way
dispose of real estate or in instances where someone is confronted with legal issues in a state besides their state of residence.
As a rule of thumb, an attorney should be accepted to
practice in the state in which they are representing a client. This pertains
regardless of whether contracts are up for negotiation or lawsuits have been filed. Exceptions to the general rule can
be found in most jurisdictions.
For example, there are states that enable lawyers
who are licensed in some other state to advocate on behalf of a client “pro hac vice” or “for this case.” To be admitted pro hac vice, the attorney has to be admitted
in some other state and petition the local court to accept
him or her to represent the client in a specific issue. The local court might
grant the petition, deny
the petition, or recognize the petition with certain
qualifications. For example, the local court could require
the out-of-state attorney to practice with an attorney licensed in the state. The purpose of this demand
is to better help the
client by providing local counsel who
has a better handle on local rules, state laws,
and state procedures.
Going beyond pro hac vice
practice, lawyers could be eligible
in another state through reciprocity. By
means of reciprocity, a lawyer may
be permitted admission to the bar of a different state which does not restrict the lawyer to representing a client in one issue. This procedure is possible when the attorney
is licensed in a state that would respect the
other state’s attorney licenses. Usually, the lawyer will have to
have practiced for a prescribed number of
years in one state before the second state will issue a
license to practice law.
Transactions between people of different states is without
likely – in
fact, it’s so much expected – today
thanks to more
travel choices and improvements
in communications technology. This ostensibly
could lead to the need for legal representation out of state. In such
cases, it may be best to hire local counsel. Other cases could be served by asking that your legal representative
be accepted pro hac vice or
admitted to the bar based on reciprocity, if available.
If usual counsel approves, the additional costs of travel should be deliberated
as part of the fee arrangement. Often the client
agrees to bear these extra
expenses, as long as usual
counsel is fully prepared to travel to the other state.