Multijurisdictional Practice: Safe Harbors
The American Corporate Counsel Association (ACCA) supports sState licensing rules and statutes which authorize the practice of lawyers who are engaged in cross-border practice on behalf of their clients, as well as those who are in good standing in one jurisdiction and who move to a new state, seeking to continue their practice.
At a minimum, ACCA believes that any state examining the adoption of an safe harbor provisions to address multijurisdictional practice (MJP)issues should include protections for:
employed lawyers acting on their employer-client's behalf in non-litigation contexts;
lawyers pursuing "cross border" legal matters for an employer-client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not admitted; and
lawyers who are associated with locally admitted counsel.
As an interim step to MJP reform, ACCA endorses the ABA Ethics 2000 Commission's proposed Model Rule 5.5 as a good articulation of a rule consistent with our position. ACCA endorses this proposed rule and encourages urges states which are not yet ready to consider larger reform to consider itsthe adoption of this or a similar rule.
ACCA continues to seek comprehensive reform across all states through a national compact as articulated in ACCA's MJP position paper of March 2001, presented to the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice (this document can be found at http://www.acca.com/advocacy/mjp/accaposition_cl.html). However, ACCA recognizes that some states will individually may consider interim relief through safe harbor provisions before a system of more comprehensive and inclusive national reform is available;. tThus, this policy is intended to offer ourACCA's recommendations for state-by-state safe harbor provisions which will offer important relief to MJP lawyers now.
If a number of states adopt "consistent" safe harbor provisions (by adopting ABA Ethics 2000's Model Rule 5.5, for instance), the result will ease the burden on state licensing/UPL authorities who otherwise struggle to unravel the conflicting rules which each state or court would try to attach to lawyers working across state lines.. Consistently adopted state safe harbor provisions will also provide predictability for MJP lawyers currently grappling with a lack of clarity about how seeking to successfully represent clients across state lines while adhering to their professional and ethical responsibilities. Consistent rules from state to state will also pave the way to an easier and more logical progression to consideration of a coordinated, comprehensive, national reform in the future, such as the prescription proposal offered by ACCA in its March 2001 position paper.
Passed on June 5, 2001, in Chicago, Illinois, by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the American Corporate Counsel Association.