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USA - Alaska International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Alaska International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

ALASKA STATUTES TITLE 8. BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS. CHAPTER 08. ATTORNEYS.

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 an LLB or JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the bar exam, or been admitted on motion without exam via reciprocity.

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 Alaska. The right to practise on a temporary basis in another state or to appear pro hac vice in another state depends on the practice rules of that state.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The practice of law is defined in the ALASKA BAR RULE 63  as ""(a) representing oneself by words or conduct to be an attorney, and, if the person is authorized to practice law in another jurisdiction but is not a member of the Alaska Bar Association, representing oneself to be a member of the Alaska Bar Association; and
(b) either (i) representing another before a court or governmental body which is operating in its adjudicative capacity, including the submission of pleadings, or (ii), for compensation, providing advice or preparing documents for another which effect (sic) legal rights or duties.""
This is further qualified in ALASKA BAR RULE 15 ""(b) Unauthorized Practice of Law. (1) For purposes of the practice of law prohibition for disbarred and suspended attorneys in subparagraph (a)(6) of this rule, except for attorneys suspended solely for non-payment of bar fees, ""practice of law"" is defined as: (A) holding oneself out as an attorney or lawyer authorized to practice law; (B) rendering legal consultation or advice to a client; (C) appearing on behalf of a client in any hearing or proceeding or before any judicial officer, arbitrator, mediator, court, public agency, referee, magistrate, commissioner, hearing officer, or governmental body which is operating in its adjudicative capacity, including the submission of pleadings; (D) appearing as a representative of the client at a deposition or other discovery matter; (E) negotiating or transacting any matter for or on behalf of a client with third parties; or (F) receiving, disbursing, or otherwise handling a client's funds. (2) For purposes of the practice of law prohibition for attorneys suspended solely for the non-payment of fees and for inactive attorneys, ""practice of law"" is defined as it is in subparagraph (b)(1) of this rule, except that these persons may represent another to the extent that a layperson would be allowed to do so.
This is further qualified by ALASKA RULE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT 5.5:
(a) A lawyer shall not practice law in any jurisdiction unless authorized to do so by the laws of that jurisdiction.

(b) A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction shall not: (1) except as authorized by these Rules or other law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or (2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.

(c) A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction that: (1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter; (2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in this or another jurisdiction, if the lawyer, or a person the lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in that proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized; (3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or (4) are not within paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.

(d) A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that: (1) are provided to the lawyer’s employer or its organizational affiliates and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(2) are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.

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

No

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

A lawyer may practise as a sole practitioner, in a general or limited liability partnership, a limited liability company, or a professional corporation. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

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

The Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct which is modelled on the ABA Model Rules (seehttp://www.courts.alaska.gov/prof.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 business form taken (e.g. limited liability company) and the local state statutes.

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

Licences are issued by the Alaskan Bar (see: http://www.alaskabar.org/)

   

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?

Only lawyers from other US states may provide temporary services under Rule 5.5 of the Alaskan Rules of Professional Conduct.

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 Alaska would need to be fully admitted to the Alaska 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "Yes - a foreign lawyer may be licensed as a foreign legal consultant in Alaska (see Alaska Bar Rule 44.1, available online at www.state.ak.us/courts/bar.htm#44.1), however the court has discretion to consider whether an attorney in Alaska would be allowed a reasonable and practical opportunity to establish an office to give legal advice to clients in the applicant's country of admission. If granted, the FLC licence permits a foreign legal consultant ""to provide legal services in the State of Alaska, subject to the limitations that the person shall not:
(1) appear for another person as attorney in any court or before any magistrate or other judicial officer in the State of Alaska, or prepare pleadings or any other papers in any action or proceeding brought in any such court or before any such judicial officer, except as authorized by Civil Rule 81(a)(2);
(2) prepare any deed, mortgage, assignment, discharge, lease, agreement, sale or any other instruction affecting title to real estate located in the United States of America;
(3) prepare:
(A) any will or trust instrument affecting the disposition of any property located in the United States of America and owned by a resident of the United States of America, or
(B) any instrument relating to the administration of a decedent's estate in the United States of America;
(4) prepare any instrument concerning the marital relations, rights or duties of a resident of the United States of America, or the custody or care of the children of a resident;
(5) provide professional legal advice on the law of the State of Alaska, any other state or territory of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the United States or any foreign country other than the country where the consultant is admitted as an attorney or counsellor at law or the equivalent, whether provided incident to the preparation of legal instruments or otherwise. If a particular matter requires legal advice from a person admitted to practice law as an attorney in a jurisdiction other than where the consultant is admitted as an attorney or counsellor at law or equivalent, the foreign law consultant shall consult an attorney, counsellor of law or the equivalent in the other jurisdiction on the particular matter, obtain written legal advice and transmit the written legal advice to the client;
(6) in any way represent that the person is licensed as an attorney or counsellor at law in the State of Alaska, or the equivalent in any jurisdiction, unless so licensed; or
(7) use any title other than "foreign law consultant"; provided that the person's authorized title and firm name in the foreign country in which the person is admitted to practice as an attorney or counsel at law or the equivalent may be used if the title, firm name, and the name of the foreign country are stated together with the title "foreign law consultant”.
 

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

Must us the title of FLC

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

The applicant must have spent 5 of the previous 7 years prior to registration practising law. He/she must also submit a certificate of registration and good standing with his/her home-country bar, meet the professional liability insurance requirement, and agree to be bound by the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, Ethics Opinions adopted by the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Association, and the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

Only lawyers from other US states may provide arbitration and mediation services under Rule 5.5 of the Alaskan Rules of Professional Conduct.

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

Alaska's pro hac vice rules do not cover foreign lawyers.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

 

There is no explicit rule but a foreign lawyer may qualify to take the UBE in Alaska under Bar Rule 2 section 3 or by reciprocity admission from a reciprocal state.   A graduate of a foreign law school in which the principles of English law are taught may be eligible to take the bar exam if he or she submits proof that 1) the law school from which he/she graduated meets the ABA’s standards for approval; and 2) he/she has successfully completed 1 year at an ABA-approved law school, including successful completion of 1 course in U.S. Constitutional Law and 1 course in U.S. Civil Procedure, or is a member in good standing of the bar of 1 or more states, territories, or the District of Columbia and was admitted to the bar of that state, territory, or the District of Columbia after written examination.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Foreign firms are permitted to establish a commercial presence (a permanent office) to offer advisory services in foreign and international law;

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)

 Not applicable

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? Subject to the Alaska code
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Foreign name is permitted
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?

No

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

Yes - this is explicitly mentioned in the USA's schedule of specific commitments on legal services

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

Yes - this is explicitly mentioned in the USA's schedule of specific commitments on legal services

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

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

 

Verified by

Alaska Bar Association (February 2014)