Special Committee Multijurisdictional Practice

Special Committee on Multijurisdictional Practice Summary of the Committee’s Conclusions

Summary of the Committee’s Conclusions

The MJP Committee concluded that an exception should be added to Rule 49 for multijurisdictional practice in arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution (collectively “ADR”) proceedings. Specifically, a non member of the D.C. Bar should be permitted to provide legal services in or reasonably related to pending or potential ADR proceedings, as long as he or she (a) is authorized to practice law by the highest court of a state or territory or by a foreign country and is not disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons from, and has not resigned with charges pending in, any jurisdiction or court; (b) does not begin to provide such services in more than five ADR proceedings in the District of Columbia per calendar year; and (c) does not otherwise practice in the District of Columbia except under another exception in Rule 49.

In addition, the Committee recommended several changes that do not materially change the scope of multijurisdictional practice currently authorized under Rule 49, but that clarify or strengthen existing provisions:

(1) The current provision of Rule 49 allowing a lawyer who is not a member of the District of Columbia Bar, but who is authorized to practice elsewhere, to provide legal services in the District of Columbia on an incidental basis (Rule 49(b)(3)) should be placed in a new exception, clarified, and amended to exclude lawyers who have been disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons or resigned with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court.

(2) The current provisions of Rule 49 excepting from the definition of unauthorized practice of law the activity of a non D.C. Bar member who provides legal services in any court of the United States following admission to practice in that court (Rule 49(c)(3)), or who provides legal services in any court of the District of Columbia following admission pro hac vice (Rule 49(c)(7)), should be clarified explicitly to except the provision of legal services reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding in that court if such person reasonably expects to be admitted to practice in that court.

(3) The current provision of Rule 49 specifying the contents of the declaration that must accompany each application for admission pro hac vice to a court of the District of Columbia (Rule 49(c)(7)(ii)) should be clarified and amended to require (a) a description of all disciplinary complaints pending against the applicant; (b) a description of the circumstances of all suspensions, disbarments, or resignations with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court; (c) certification that the person has not had an application to the D.C. Bar denied, or a description of the circumstances of all such denials; and (d) a commitment by the applicant promptly to notify the court if, during the course of the proceeding, the person is suspended or disbarred for disciplinary reasons or resigns with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court.

(4) The current provisions of Rule 49 permitting (a) limited duration practice by a non D.C. Bar member as a lawyer employed by the government of the District of Columbia, (b) limited duration practice by a non D.C. Bar member with a pending application to the D.C. Bar, (c) the provision of pro bono legal services under certain circumstances by an inactive member of the D.C. Bar or by a non D.C. Bar member, and (d) the provision of legal services by a non D.C. Bar member as a part of certain court-authorized programs (Rule 49(c)(4), (8), (9), and (10)) should be amended to exclude practitioners who have been disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons from, or who have resigned with charges pending in, any jurisdiction or court.