A national association of professional responsibility lawyers is calling on the American Bar Association to amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to allow lawyers admitted in any U.S. jurisdiction to practice law and represent clients anywhere in the country.

The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers is urging the ABA to adopt a new version of Model Rule 5.5 that would eliminate the traditional state-based limitation on law practice, by which lawyers can practice only in the states in which they are admitted.

“Our proposal advocates that a lawyer admitted in any United States jurisdiction should be able to practice law and represent willing clients without regard to the geographic location of the lawyer or the client, without regard to the forum where the services are to be provided, and without regard to which jurisdiction’s rules apply at a given moment in time,” APRL President Brian Faughnan said in a letter today to ABA President Reginald M. Turner.

An APRL committee spent several years studying the future of lawyering, Faughnan said in the letter, its first action item was to issue a report calling for replacement of the current “anachronistic” Model Rule 5.5 with a new version of 5.5 that would allow multi-jurisdictional practice. APRL’s board voted to adopt the proposed revised rule in March, Faughnan said.

(I am on a brief vacation and will have more on this when I return.)


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Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.