USA - Indiana International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Indiana International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

INDIANA CODE, TITLE 33, ARTICLE 43. PRACTICE OF LAW; the following rules, although not legislation, are promulgated by the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana  Admission and Discipline Rules; Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct

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 from an ABA approved law school, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the bar exam.  Annual fees are assessed to the license for renewal.

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 Indiana. 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.

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










 (On January 24, 2002, the Indiana State Bar House of Delegates approved a recommendation calling for a definition of the practice of law. The Bar’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee is developing a definition. Should there be a House meeting in the spring of 2003, it's likely a recommendation would be ready for consideration by the delegates at that time.)
Fink v. Peden, 17 N.E.2d 95 (1938)
The practice of law is defined in 7 C.J.S., Attorney and Client, 703, Section 3(g), as follows: 'The general meaning of the term, 'practice law' or 'practice of law', is of common knowledge, although the boundaries of its definition may be indefinite as to some transactions. As generally understood, it is the doing or performing of services in a court of justice, in any matter depending therein, throughout its various stages, and in conformity with the adopted rules of procedure; but it is not confined to performing services in an action or proceeding pending in courts of justice, and, in a larger sense, it includes legal advice and counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and contracts by which legal rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a court. To 'practice law' is to carry on the business of an attorney at law; to do or practice that which an attorney or counsellor at law is authorized to do and practice; to exercise the calling or profession of the law; usually for the purpose of gaining a livelihood, or at least for gain; to make it one's business to act for, and by the warrant of, others in legal formalities, negotiations, or proceedings.' (Court's italics.)

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, limited liability company, professional corporation, professional association, or in-house counsel. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited. 

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

The Indiana code of professional conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code (see:http://www.state.in.us/judiciary/rules/prof_conduct/index.html).

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.  A limited liability partnership, limited liability company, or professional corporation must file their business model status with the Indiana Board of Law Examiners.

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

Licences are issued by the Indiana Supreme Court: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/discipline/



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?

Indiana Rules of Court Rule 5.5. permits A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction, but is admitted in another United States jurisdiction, or in a foreign jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction if:
(1)    the lawyer does not establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law and the legal services are provided to the lawyer's employer or its organizational affiliates and are not services for which the forum requires temporary admission; or
(2)    the services are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.

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 could practise law on a fly in fly out basis in Indiana provided they meet the requirements of the Indiana Bar for temporary practice (see Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 3). In addition '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 can obtain a limited licence to offer advisory services in Indiana.  The Indiana Supreme Court rules state that the court may license to practice in Indiana as a foreign legal consultant, without examination, an applicant who: (a) is a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign country, the members of which are admitted to practice as attorneys or counsellors at law or the equivalent and are subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or a public authority; (b) for at least five of the seven years immediately preceding his or her application has been a member in good standing of such legal profession and has actually been engaged in the practice of law in the said foreign country or elsewhere substantially involving or relating to the rendering of advice or the provision of legal services concerning the law of the said foreign country; (c) possesses the good moral character and general fitness requisite for a member of the bar of Indiana; and (d) intends to practice as a foreign legal consultant in Indiana and to maintain an office in this State for that purpose. (Indiana Rules of Court, Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys)

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

Services must be supplied by a natural person. An in-state office must be maintained for licensure in Indiana (or an affiliate with an office and with other attorneys in the state)

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

Licensure is subject to meeting requirements of registration.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?


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


Indiana Rules for Admission and Discipline, Rule 3, Section 2 permit the limited admission on petition for foreign lawyers (http://www.ai.org/judiciary/rules/ad_dis/index.html#r3)

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


Have a rule: Rule 6, Indiana Supreme Court Rules for Admission to the Bar


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

There are no separate requirements on law firms. An FLC is permitted to open an office.

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?


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




Other useful sources or comments or links


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Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission (January 2014)