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Finally, multijurisdictional practice rules

The Supreme Court of Virginia has adopted three multijurisdictional practice measures more than two years after the Virginia State Bar Council first recommended them to the high court. The court suggested revisions to the initial proposals, and the VSB sent the reworked provisions back to the court earlier this year.

One is a new Rule 1A:7, which allows foreign legal consultants to practice law in a limited basis in Virginia. They have to get a certificate from the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners and can provide advice on international law or on the law of the country in which they are licensed to practice law. They cannot appear in court.

The other two provisions are Rules 5.5 and 8.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. They clarify the “temporary and occasional” services that an out-of-state attorney can perform without being disciplined for practicing law without a license and make the attorneys subject to Virginia disciplinary rules.

The rules replace Part 6, Sec. 1(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court. Under the change in structure, the VSB’s Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law would deal only with the unauthorized practice of law by non-attorneys.

All three measures stem from MJP recommendations of the American Bar Association in 2002. VSB Council adopted them more than two years ago, but he court asked for additional work on them.

The foreign legal consultant rule takes effect Jan. 1. The Supreme Court has indicated to the VSB that it will adopt Rules 5.5 and 8.5, but the order doing so is still in draft form.

By Alan Cooper

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