September 23, 2019 Top Story

Foreign "Special Legal Consultant" Rules in Question

Case highlights concerns over licensing foreign advisors in the United States

By Geoff A. Gannaway

The recent revocation of a Sudanese lawyer’s license to advise U.S. clients on his home country’s laws highlights potential weaknesses in the rules governing foreign attorneys practicing domestically, according to ABA Section of Litigation leaders.

The revocation of a Sudanese lawyer's license brought to light one of issue of many concerning the practice of foreign attorneys on U.S. soil

The revocation of a Sudanese lawyer's license brought to light one of issue of many concerning the practice of foreign attorneys on U.S. soil

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In revoking the license of this “special legal consultant,” the District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility’s decision that sanctions similar to disbarment should apply, given that the Sudanese attorney falsely held himself out as a D.C. attorney. Section of Litigation leaders note that this is just one concern surrounding the licensing programs a number of states have in place for foreign attorneys seeking to practice in the United States.

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