Friday, May 17, 2013

Pro hac vice admission is granted liberally by the courts as a matter of course

In Selling v. Radford, 243 US 46 (1917), the United States Supreme Court considered whether an attorney no longer admitted to any state bar could nonetheless appear before it.  The case is seminal with respect to admissions issues, and courts considering pro hac vice admission motions often cite to the Court’s flexibility and interest in allowing an attorney the courtesy to practice without the most basic prerequisite- state bar admission.
He had lost his admission to the state bar of Michigan through disbarment.  He had continued to hold himself out as a licensed attorney in Detroit on the basis of his admission to the rolls of the US Supreme Court. 

The Court considered that the disbarment ruling by the state bar of Michigan had no precedential effect on it from a technical standpoint.  Therefore, it requested further information and a statement by the attorney why his admission to the court should not be revoked. 

Courts around the country, when faced with disciplinary issues or other reasons to deny a motion for admission pro hac vice, have cited this case for the proposition that in all but the most egregious circumstances, attorneys should be afforded admission until they prove otherwise. 

Learn the pro hac vice admission rules and find local counsel in all US jurisdictions.   

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Similarities among pro hac vice admission rules around the country

Pro hac vice admission is a one-time, conditional form of admission for attorneys licensed in one jurisdiction who wish to practice in one case in another state.

There are many reasons an attorney may seek pro hac vice admission.  Most often, a long-standing client may have a legal matter in another jurisdiction that the client prefers the usual attorney to handle, but the usual attorney is not licensed in the foreign jurisdiction.  Other situations arise, such as when a case has a change of venue or an insurance company appoints foreign co-counsel to assist on complex, specialized matters.

In every state, local counsel licensed in the state where the matter is pending is required for pro hac vice admission.  An attorney admitted pro hac vice is subject to the local rules of practice and disciplinary jurisdiction of the local court in which the case is pending.

Likewise, most states require local counsel to sign pleadings for the purpose of Rule 11 verification.  Local counsel occupies more than a mere administrative role; the courts expect local counsel to appear in court with pro hac vice counsel.

For the most part, pro hac vice admission is granted as a matter of course by the courts, without the usual time to oppose or otherwise respond to a motion or petition for admission.  Courts almost always note in cases concerning admission that pro hac vice admission is a privilege, not a right, subject to the same standards and knowledge of local law and practice as full admission to the bar.

Each jurisdiction-state, federal, and bankruptcy- is subject to its own rules for admission.  In most jurisdictions, a designation of local counsel, an application or motion with affidavit, order, fee, and certificate of good standing is required, although some jurisdictions require more or less than this list.

Some jurisdictions limit the number of cases for which an attorney (or firm) can seek pro hac vice admission in a given one, three, or five year period.

Resources online can help you find the rules for the jurisdiction in which you seek pro hac vice admission and  to retain competent local counsel.