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Multi-jurisdictional Practice in CT, Part 2

Alright, you read Part 1 of our discussion on MJP and you are from a reciprocal jurisdiction, when do you need to enroll/notify? Let’s recap – by covering what MJP is not – If you are from a reciprocal state, you do not need need to enroll and register if you are associated with Connecticut lawyer, (Rule 5.5(c)(1)), or the matter is related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal, (Rule 5.5(c)(2)). So, if you are working with a CT lawyer who actively participates, you seem to be off the hook. If it is connected to a matter in your jurisdiction and you seem to be off the hook.

What legal services are covered by MJP?

This is another one of those $64,000 questions. What does count for enrollment and notification? Rule 5.5f. Clearly, mediation and all forms of alternate dispute resolution. See Rule 5.5(c)(3). A somewhat stickier issue is the “not (c)(2) or (c)(3) catch-all” in Rule 5.5(c)(4).

What does all this mean? Let’s look at the commentary:

These services include both legal services and services that nonlawyers may perform but that are considered the practice of law when performed by lawyers.

Subdivision(c) (4) requires that the services provided in this jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not admitted to practice be for (1) an existing client, i.e., one with whom the lawyer has a previous relationship and not arising solely out of a Connecticut based matter and (2) arise out of or be substantially related to the legal services provided to that client in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice. Without both, the lawyer is prohibited from practicing law in the jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not admitted to practice

Commentary to Rule 5.5(c)(4).

This makes me feel like the old Supreme Court joke about obscenity – they’ll know it when they see it. No list in this area could be exhaustive, the Statewide Grievance Committee gives some common examples are:

  •     Appearing in Connecticut for a private mediation or arbitration.
  •     Appearing in Connecticut to perform a real estate or business closing and related duties.
  •     Appearing in Connecticut for a legal meeting with an existing or potential client.

Wait, what? Gosh, that seems very broad. What to do? Err on the side of caution and register. Mediation and ADR make sense, so does transactional work. Did you think it would cover a client meeting?

How many notifications or how much is this going to cost?

Non-admitted lawyers subject to Rule 5.5(f) must provide a new notification and pay a fee for each separate matter that falls within Rule 5.5(c)(3) and (c)(4).  The Connecticut legislature is closing the budget deficit by fees and costs. Admission pro hac vice is over $600. Pro hac vice admitted lawyers (and admitted lawyers) pay an annual occupational tax is over $500. Be happy this fee is only $100. However, the rules require a notification and fee for each separate matter.

What are separate matters?

Ok, you think you have figured out what legal service are covered but how notifications are necessary. From the Grievance Committee:

One Matter/One Notification: “A title search, client meeting and closing in a single real property transaction. This is one matter for which one notification and payment only must be made even if the parts to the transaction occur over multiple days.”

Multiple Matters/Multiple Notifications: “Legal meetings with an existing client on one or multiple days regarding multiple files. These are separate matters for which separate notifications and payments must be made.” It appears the reasoning is based on each matter for the same client. So, you visit one client to discuss 10 files, looks like $1,000.

One Matter/Multiple Notification: “Multiple attorneys appearing for an existing client in a single matter. Each attorney must provide a separate notification and payment.” If you bring the whole team, you are going to pay per player.

What doesn’t count?

Depositions do not count. If you are appearing via commission from your home state, the Grievance Committee says It is not necessary to file an MJP notification to take a deposition in Connecticut so long as you are in compliance with court procedure.

Do I have to be present in CT for a required enrollment and notification?

The examples we’ve discussed all seem to turn on presence in Connecticut. Combing the Grievance Committee website reveals that the Committee has concluded that presence in CT is not required for enrollment and notification.

“The practice of law in Connecticut is defined by Section 2-44A of the Connecticut Practice Book. To the extent that a non-admitted lawyer is practicing law in this jurisdiction as defined by Section 2-44A, the non-admitted lawyer need not be physically present in Connecticut to come within the requirements of Rule 5.5(f).”

Watch out! The long arm of the Committee seems to stretch over our borders!

Questions?

If you have a question about multi-jurisdictional practice in Connecticut, appearing pro hac vice in state court or federal court in Connecticut, local counsel services, or appearing as a visiting lawyer before a state agency, municipality or in an arbitration proceeding, please feel free to call Attorney John Radshaw in New Haven today at (203) 654-9695. For more information about Attorney Radshaw and his practice, visit www.jjr-esq.com.