Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Multijurisdictional Unauthorized Practice

From the Ohio Supreme Court:

Out-of-state debt settlement lawyers are not authorized to provide legal services on a temporary basis to Ohio clients, according to a Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline advisory opinion.

It is the first time the board has addressed Professional Conduct Rule 5.5 (Unauthorized practice of law; multijurisdictional practice of law), which took effect in 2007.

Section (c) of the rule contains “safe harbors” that permit an out-of-state lawyer to provide legal services in Ohio temporarily.

Opinion 2011-2 applies the “reasonable relationship” factors found in the comments to Rule 5.5. The board concluded that allowing the multijurisdictional practice at issue would not serve the interests of clients and public when the “matters are not connected to the lawyers’ home state of admission, there is not a pre-existing relationship between the lawyers and the Ohio clients, and the lawyers do not have a recognized expertise in a particular body of federal, nationally-uniform, foreign, or international law that is applicable to the consumer debt matters.”

A copy of the opinion is available at: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Boards/BOC/Advisory_Opinions/2011/Op_11-002.pdf.

(MIke Frisch)

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