Supreme Court Disciplinary Board proposes rule allowing MJPs

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Disciplinary Board and the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
have published proposed rulemakings to address issues of multijurisdictional practice.

The Discplinary Board this month announced proposed amendments to Rule 5.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct that “would make a number of sweeping changes to the requirements regarding practice in Pennsylvania by those not admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania.”

Under the proposed rule changes, 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, according to the Disciplinary Board.

Under the rule change, 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.

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 Board requires that comments on the Rule change be submitted by Dec. 19, 2003.

The complete rule changes are available on the Disciplinary Board’s web site.