Symposium On The Multijurisdictional Practice Of Law

Symposium On The Multijurisdictional Practice Of Law

March 10-11, 2000
Fordham University School of Law
New York, New York

One of the major concerns facing the legal profession as we enter the 21 st Century is how to deal with the multijurisdictional practice of law. American businesses have become transnational, if not global, in nature. As the nature of clients’ business has changed, the practice of law has also become multijurisdictional. The multijurisdictional practice of law involves issues of legal ethics, bar admission, regulation of lawyers and the unauthorized practice of law.

In response to this concern, in July 1999, the Center for Professional Responsibility initiated a discussion of whether or not the ABA should create an entity to study the issue of multijurisdictional practice. Burnele V. Powell, Chair of the Center for Professional Responsibility Coordinating Council, appointed a Planning Committee to further study the issue. James E. Towery, Chair of the Standing Committee on Client Protection, was appointed Chair of the Planning Committee. The Planning Committee decided that a symposium should be held to focus the legal profession’s attention on the complex issues involved in the multijurisdictional practice of law. In December the Board approved the request of the Center for Professional Responsibility to cosponsor a symposium with Fordham University School of Law on the multijurisdictional practice of law and to seek additional outside funding.

The symposium was held on March 10-11, 2000 at Fordham University in New York City. The invitation-only symposium was co-sponsored by the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, the Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham University School of Law, the American Corporate Counsel Association, the Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society and the ABA Sections of Business Law and Litigation. The participants at the symposium included supreme court justices, bar presidents, bar counsel, bar admission experts, legal educators, corporate counsel, professional liability lawyers, litigators, arbitrators/mediators and regulatory counsel. The participants worked in discussion groups and examined broad areas of legal representation in which multijurisdictional practice is increasingly common. The groups discussed public policy issues involved in multijurisdictional practice, lawyer regulatory concerns effecting multijurisdictional practice and possible alternative regulatory frameworks.

Chair Powell moderated the symposium. Professor Bruce A. Green of Fordham University School of Law served as the symposium reporter. Professor Green is now responsible for drafting a "white paper". The white paper will define the issues raised by multijurisdictional practice and summarize the discussions and findings of the symposium participants. It is anticipated that the white paper will be presented to the ABA President, Board of Governors and House of Delegates with a request that an ABA presidential commission be appointed to: 1) consider the issues raised by the symposium participants and 2) present a policy recommendation on the multijurisdictional practice of law to the House of Delegates.


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