The ABA expressed support recently for Senate Bill 766, a bill pending in the California Legislature that would authorize out-of-state and foreign attorneys to represent parties in international commercial arbitration held in California. The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Jan. 29 and sent it to the Assembly for consideration. Current California law provides that no person shall practice law in the state unless he or she is an active of the state bar. Under the bill, a qualified attorney would be allowed to provide legal services in an international commercial arbitration or related conciliation, mediation or alternative dispute resolution proceeding if any of several conditions are satisfied. These include situations when services are undertaken in association with an attorney who is admitted to practice in the state and actively participates in the matter or when the services arise out of or are related to a dispute governed primarily by international law or the law of a foreign or out-of-state jurisdiction. “The ABA has long supported efforts to allow lawyers to effectively serve their clients, at home and abroad through cross-border practice,” ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman wrote Feb. 7 to California State Senate Majority Leader William Monning. The legislation appears to be based on the ABA Model Rule for Temporary Practice by Foreign Lawyers, one of several model rules adopted by the ABA that seek to facilitate access by foreign lawyers in the United States. Additional policy adopted by the ABA urges that parties to international arbitration be allowed representation by counsel of their choice, regardless of whether the lawyer is admitted in the jurisdiction where the arbitration takes place.