The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), a group of 400 lawyers who advise on ethics matters, has recommended that lawyers admitted to a US jurisdiction be able to practice across any state.
The Association suggests the ABA Model Rule 5.5, which was adopted in 2002 to prohibit lawyers from practicing in jurisdictions they had not been admitted to, is out of date and does not represent the way the law is practised today. This is specifically targeted at practice during the pandemic which saw lawyers expand beyond state borders with the move to more remote practice.
APRL has submitted proposed revisions to the ABA. The revisions would allow attorneys to represent willing clients without regard to geographic location, the forum where the services are to be provided, or which jurisdiction’s rules apply at a given moment in time.
The rule would still recognize ethics and competency rules and preserve judicial authority in each state to regulate who appears in state courts.
The proposed revisions are the result of a study on multijurisdictional practice and the unauthorized practice of law from APRL’s Future of Lawyering Committee. Jayne Reardon, former Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism, serves on the committee.