USA - Colorado International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Colorado International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector




Article VI of the Colorado Constitution grants the Colorado Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to regulate and control the practice of law in Colorado.  Conway-Bogue v. Denver Bar Ass’n, 135 Colo. 398, 312 P.2d 998 (1957).  The Court has enacted rules that regulate attorney admission (C.R.C.P. 201, 220-222); attorney registration (C.R.C.P. 227); attorney discipline (C.R.C.P. 251); unauthorized practice of law (C.R.C.P. 228, et seq.); the Attorneys’ Fund for Client Protection (C.R.C.P. 252); and mandatory continuing legal and judicial education requirements (C.R.C.P. 260).   In addition, there is a limited statutory framework set out in the COLORADO REVISED STATUTES 2012, TITLE 12. PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS , GENERAL , ARTICLE 5. ATTORNEYS-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?

A US lawyer from another State can obtain a license to practice law in Colorado by applying on motion (C.R.C.P. 201.3(1), pursuant to Uniform Bar Exam score transfer procedures (C.R.C.P. 201.3(5), or through single-client certification (C.R.C.P. 222).  Others must take the bar exam (pursuant to C.R.C.P. 201.6).  All applicants must have an LLB or JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the bar exam.  There is an annual registration and fee.
There are additional proposed rules before the Colorado Supreme Court that will also allow certification and pro hac vice admission of Foreign Legal Consultants.  Proposed C.R.C.P. 204.2 and 205.5.

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

 A Colorado license or certification only automatically entitles the holder to practise in Colorado. The right to practise on a temporary basis in another state or to appear pro hac vice in another state depends on the explicit permission of that state.
An out-of-state, U.S. lawyer may practice law in Colorado on a temporary basis pursuant to C.R.C.P. 220.  There is a proposed rule pending before the Colorado Supreme Court that would also allow limited, temporary practise by foreign lawyers (C.R.C.P. 205.2).

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

















 The Colorado supreme court has defined the practice of law as follows: “We believe that generally one who acts in a representative capacity in protecting, enforcing, or defending the legal rights and duties of another and in counselling, advising and assisting him in connection with these rights and duties is engaged in the practice of law”. Denver Bar Ass'n v. Public Utilities Commission, 154 Colo. 273, 279, 391 P.2d 467, 471 (1964). See also C.R.C.P. 201.3(2).
(2) For purposes of this rule, ""practice of law"" means:
(a) the private practice of law as a sole practitioner or as a lawyer employee of or partner or shareholder in a law firm, professional corporation, legal clinic, legal services office, or similar entity; or
(b) employment as a lawyer for a corporation, partnership, trust, individual, or other entity with the primary duties of:
(i) furnishing legal counsel, drafting documents and pleadings, and interpreting and giving advice with respect to the law, and/or
(ii) preparing, trying or presenting cases before courts, executive departments, administrative bureaus or agencies; or
(c) employment as a lawyer in the law offices of the executive, legislative, or judicial departments of the United States, including the independent agencies thereof, or of any state, political subdivision of a state, territory, special district, or municipality of the United States, with the primary duties of
(i) furnishing legal counsel, drafting documents and pleadings, and interpreting and giving advice with respect to the law, and/or
(ii) preparing, trying or presenting cases before courts, executive departments, administrative bureaus or agencies; or
(d) employment as a judge, magistrate, hearing examiner, administrative law judge, law clerk, or similar official of the United States, including the independent agencies thereof, or of any state, territory or municipality of the United States with the duties of hearing and deciding cases and controversies in judicial or administrative proceedings, provided such employment is available only to a lawyer; or
(e) employment as a teacher of law at a law school approved by the American Bar Association throughout the applicant's employment; or
f) any combination of subparagraphs (a)-(e) above. Colorado
Koscove v. Bolte, 30 P.3d 784 (Colo.App. 2001)

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


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, professional corporation, or in a professional limited liability company (C.R.C.P. 265). Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

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

The Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, which are modelled on the ABA model rules (see:

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

Not from the Colorado Supreme Court, but Colorado law firms may be subject to other notification requirements depending on the form taken (e.g. limited liability company, professional corporations, See C.R.C.P. 265) and the local State code.

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

Licences are issued by the Colorado Supreme Court:



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?

According to Colorado Supreme Court Rule (C.R.C.P.) 220, only lawyers from other US jurisdictions may provide temporary services in Colorado at this time.  If proposed Rules 205.2 (Temporary practice by foreign lawyer) and 205.5 (Pro hac vice authority by foreign lawyer) are adopted, then temporary practice by foreign lawyers will be allowed under certain conditions.

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 presently wishing to practise law on a fly in fly out basis in Colorado would need to be fully admitted to the Colorado 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?

Not yet - there is a proposed FLC rule pending before the Colorado Supreme Court, C.R.C.P. 204.2.  Please check for updates on the status of this proposed rule.

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?

The Colorado code of conduct exempts other US lawyers who are not admitted to practice in Colorado from unauthorised practice of law violation provided the legal services they are providing "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".  Colorado would allow foreign lawyers to undertake arbitration and mediation under the proposed rules pending before the Colorado Supreme Court. 

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


Foreign lawyers are not allowed to appear in Court in a representative capacity at present.  This will change with the adoption of proposed C.R.C.P. 205.2, pending before the Colorado Supreme Court.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


Must have practiced actively and substantially for 5 of the previous 7 years (soon to be 3 of the previous 5 years) in jurisdiction where admitted a rule, reciprocity required. Colorado Admission Rule 201.3(1)


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

Not at present

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?


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


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 sources or comments or links


Verified by

Attorney Regulation Counsel, Colorado Supreme Court (December 2013)