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USA - Alabama International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Alabama International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

CODE OF ALABAMA TITLE 34. PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES. CHAPTER 3. ATTORNEY-AT-LAW

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Attorney at law

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

An individual must have a bachelor’s degree, a JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the Alabama State bar exam.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

This only automatically entitles the holder to practise in Alabama. The right to practise on a temporary basis in another state or to appear pro hac vice in another state depends on the explicitly permission of that state.

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reserved areas of practice for Alabama attorneys are set out in the CODE OF ALABAMA TITLE 34. PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES. CHAPTER 3. ATTORNEY-AT-LAW. This provides that "§34-3-6. Who may practice as attorneys.
(b) For the purposes of this chapter, the practice of law is defined as follows:
Whoever,
(1) In a representative capacity appears as an advocate or draws papers, pleadings or documents, or performs any act in connection with proceedings pending or prospective before a court or a body, board, committee, commission or officer constituted by law or having authority to take evidence in or settle or determine controversies in the exercise of the judicial power of the state or any subdivision thereof; or
(2) For a consideration, reward or pecuniary benefit, present or anticipated, direct or indirect, advises or counsels another as to secular law, or draws or procures or assists in the drawing of a paper, document or instrument affecting or relating to secular rights; or
(3) For a consideration, reward or pecuniary benefit, present or anticipated, direct or indirect, does any act in a representative capacity in behalf of another tending to obtain or secure for such other the prevention or the redress of a wrong or the enforcement or establishment of a right; or
(4) As a vocation, enforces, secures, settles, adjusts or compromises defaulted, controverted or disputed accounts, claims or demands between persons with neither of whom he is in privity or in the relation of employer and employee in the ordinary sense;
is practicing law.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person, firm or corporation from attending to and caring for his or its own business, claims or demands, nor from preparing abstracts of title, certifying, guaranteeing or insuring titles to property, real or personal, or an interest therein, or a lien or encumbrance thereon, but any such person, firm or corporation engaged in preparing abstracts of title, certifying, guaranteeing or insuring titles to real or personal property are prohibited from preparing or drawing or procuring or assisting in the drawing or preparation of deeds, conveyances, mortgages and any paper, document or instrument affecting or relating to secular rights, which acts are hereby defined to be an act of practicing law, unless such person, firm or corporation shall have a proprietary interest in such property; however, any such person, firm or corporation so engaged in preparing abstracts of title, certifying, guaranteeing or insuring titles shall be permitted to prepare or draw or procure or assist in the drawing or preparation of simple affidavits or statements of fact to be used by such person, firm or corporation in support of its title policies, to be retained in its files and not to be recorded."

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

US citizenship is required for practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Under title 10 of the Alabama Code, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies are permitted to any lawful business other than banks or insurance companies. In addition lawyers may work in  sole practice or general partnership.

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

The Alabama Code of professional conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code (see http://www.sunethics.com/al_rpc_index.htm)

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

Not from the Court but may be subject to other notification requirements depending on the form taken (e.g. limited liability company) and the local State code.

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Licences are issued by the Alabama State Bar (see: http://www.alabar.org/) under the authority of the State Supreme Court.

   

INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN LAWYERS

Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

Foreign lawyers are not permitted to provide fly-in fly-out services, this is only permitted to lawyers from other US states (see rule 5.5 on Unauthorized Practice of Law. (Effective September 19, 2006))

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

 

 

 

Under the WTO commitments of the USA, an individual wishing to practise law on a fly in fly out basis in Alabama would need to be fully admitted to the Alabama Bar or to the Bar of another US State. 'Service salespersons' are permitted to enter the USA for periods of up to 90 days. "Service salespersons" are "persons not based in the territory of the United States and receiving no remuneration from a source located within the United States, who are engaged in activities related to representing a services supplier for the purpose of negotiating for the sale of the services of that supplier where: a) such sales are not directly made to the general public and b) the salesperson is not engaged in supplying the service" Entry for persons named in this section is limited to a ninety-day period.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

No - There is no FLC licensing regime in Alabama

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Not applicable

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Not applicable

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

Foreign lawyers are not permitted to provide arbitration and mediation services in Alabama unless admitted elsewhere in the USA.

Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

 

A foreign attorney may appear pro hac vice in the Alabama courts by associating in the particular case with an attorney who is a member in good standing of the Alabama State Bar (Rule VII) http://www.alabar.org/members/vice.cfm

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

EU lawyers may fully requalify as Scots lawyers (solicitors or advocates) following the European Establishment Directive 98/5/EC, either by examination or by assimilation over a three year period of continuous and effective practice in Scotland.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

Only other US lawyers who meet the required criteria can be admitted to the Alabama Bar without examination. Foreign candidates wishing to requalify must sit the Alabama bar exam.  (See http://www.alabar.org/admissions/files/RulesGoverningAdmissions2013.pdf)Applicant must meet and show proof of the following requirements: (a) that the law school was approved in that foreign jurisdiction, (b) that the applicant has been admitted to the practice of law in the jurisdiction in which that law school is located, and (c) that the law degree program includes a substantial component of the study of English common law. A foreign law school graduate is eligible to take the bar examination if he or she has been admitted to practice law in a state or other jurisdiction within the United States and has been continuously engaged in the active practice of law and has been in good standing for at least 3 years.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

 No

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

No

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? No
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Not applicable

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

Not applicable

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?

Not applicable

Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?

Not applicable

Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?

Not applicable

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links