Supreme Court Adopts Multijurisdictional Practice Amendment

By order dated April 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted amendments to Rule 5.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, dealing with practice in Pennsylvania by lawyers not admitted in Pennsylvania, but admitted to practice in another jurisdiction of the United States or a foreign jurisdiction. The following changes are made:

  1. The current Rule 5.5(a) and (b) are consolidated into a single section which states, "A lawyer shall not . . . aid a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of law; or practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so."
  2. Lawyers admitted elsewhere but not in Pennsylvania would be prohibited from maintaining an office or “other systematic and continuous presence . . . for the practice of law” in Pennsylvania, and would be prohibited from holding out or representing to the public that such person is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania.
  3. A lawyer admitted to and not suspended or disbarred in another jurisdiction will be permitted to provide legal services on a "temporary basis" in the following circumstances:
    • In association with an admitted and “actively participating” Pennsylvania lawyer;
    • In a proceeding before a tribunal which has authorized the services;
    • In an arbitration, mediation, or dispute resolution process related to the lawyer’s out-of-state practice, where pro hac vice admission is not required; or
    • Under limited circumstances that arise out of the lawyer’s out-of-state practice.
  4. A lawyer admitted to and not suspended or disbarred in another jurisdiction would be permitted to practice in Pennsylvania under the following circumstances:
    • In an employment or organizational context; and
    • In certain Federal matters.

The full text of the amendments to Rule 5.5, with extended new comments, may be viewed here. The order adopting the changes may be viewed here.
The rules were published at 34 Pennsylvania Bulletin 2537 on May 15, 2004.