ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Recommends Amending Existing Policies to Address Foreign Lawyers Providing Legal Services in the U.S.
CHICAGO, May 2, 2011 — The American Bar Association Commission on Ethics 20/20, in its release of initial proposals for comment, is recommending amendments to existing ABA policies, including Rule 5.5 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, to provide limited authority for foreign lawyers to practice in the United States. Such authority is already granted in some jurisdictions.
The proposal would amend ABA Model Rules in three areas:
- Extend the registration of in-house counsel rule to include lawyers from foreign jurisdictions. The lawyer would be providing services solely to the lawyer’s employer.
- Permit foreign lawyers to apply to provide legal services on pro hac vice basis, working with local counsel. The local lawyer would remain responsible to the client and for the conduct of the proceeding.
- Merge into Model Rule 5.5 the already existing provisions of the ABA Model Rule for Temporary Practice by Foreign Lawyers to elevate the profile of this authorization, which has not seen the same level of state implementation as its domestic counterpart.
The commission’s current proposals are posted on its website, and will also be circulated for comment. The recommendation may undergo further revision before being presented to the association’s policymaking House of Delegates for consideration in 2012. A memo from the commission co-chairs soliciting comment on these issues is available here.
The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 was created in 2009, and charged with performing a thorough review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the U.S. system of lawyer regulation in the context of advances in technology and global legal practice developments. The commission continues to solicit comment on Issues Papers.
Learn more about the Commission on Ethics 20/20, its mandate and its membership here.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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