Wednesday, July 22, 2009
An interesting bar discipline matter from Louisiana involves charges of unauthorized practice against an attorney who was in good standing in New York but ineligible to practice in Louisiana due to a lapse in CLE obligations and non-payment of bar dues. The charges arose out of the representation of a single client. The attorney had participated by telephone from her New York office in a Louisiana mediation.
A hearing committee recommends that the charges be dismissed. The representation of the client "arose out of [the lawyer's] New York practice." The committee noted that Louisiana's Rule 5.5 on multijurisdictional practice permits lawyers not admitted there to handle matters that have incidental contacts with the state. Further, a non-lawyer could participate in the mediation. The committee calls the matter a "cautionary tale" and notes that the lawyer's "decisions raised the specter of unauthorized practice." (Mike Frisch)