Senior Lawyers Division Resolution - Center for Professional Responsibility




RESOLVED, that the ABA Senior Lawyers Division, as represented by its Council ("the Division"), recommends the following to the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice ("the Commission"):

1. The Commission should declare in principle that existing rules regulating extra jurisdictional practice of lawyers are unacceptable and unrealistic in that they unduly impinge upon, and financially burden, the public’s selection and use of lawyers and fail to facilitate the practice of law in the modern era of interstate interests and communications, in ways which do not enhance the protection of the public. The Commission should recommend and attempt to formulate reforms and institutional adjustments to recognize the interests of clients and to preserve the public interest in competent legal services. Of particular interest to the Division is the ability of elderly clients who move temporarily or permanently to another state to continue using the services of trusted lawyers who have advised them for years, but who may be inhibited from continuing a lawyer-client relationship in a state in which they are not, and may not be, admitted, under present admission rules.

2. The Commission should endorse the three broad goals delineated in the report of the March 2000 ABA Symposium on the Multijurisdictional Practice of law: (1) the need "to promote greater uniformity in how states address the work of out-of-state lawyers"; (2) the need for "greater clarity, so that lawyers have more guidance about what they may or may not do in relation to a state where they are not licensed"; and (3) that the "restrictions on the work of out-of-state lawyers should be liberalized so as to serve the relevant state regulatory interests in a manner that is not simply exclusionary and that, recognizing the changing nature of clients’ legal needs, accommodates the legitimate interest of clients in retaining counsel of choice and in obtaining effective and economical legal assistance."

3. The Commission should encourage host states to modify admission rules and procedures to accommodate lawyers licensed in other jurisdictions to work in legal services organizations in the host state, as Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina, Texas and Washington have done.

4. The Commission should encourage states to form compacts providing for reciprocal licensure, while retaining each state’s responsibility to oversee the provision of legal services, such as the current effort among Oregon, Washington and Idaho; and

RESOLVED FURTHER, that the Division, noting the breadth and extent of experience among its members over a broad spectrum of legal disciplines, awaits the receipt of the Commission’s specific proposals to implement the recommendations of the Division and of other interested parties, and expresses interest in providing such further comments as may then appear appropriate.

[Adopted by the Senior Lawyers Division Council, April 21, 2001, at Santa Barbara, California]

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