USA - Louisiana International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Louisiana International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

LOUISIANA REVISED STATUTES TITLE 37. PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS CHAPTER 4. ATTORNEYS; Article V, Section V of the Louisiana Constitution grants authority to the Louisiana Supreme Court to regulate the practice of law.  Generally, see Supreme Court Rule XVII, XVIII, and XIX.

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.  A Louisiana law license remains in effect for the life of the lawyer contingent upon annual registration requirements, and unless removed by disciplinary order of the Supreme Court, or resignation.

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 Louisiana. 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?


















37:212 Practice of Law defined.
A. The Practice of law means and includes:
(1) In a representative capacity, the appearance as an advocate, or the drawing of papers, pleadings or documents, or the performance of any act in connection with pending or prospective proceedings before any court of record in this state; or
(2) For a consideration, reward, or pecuniary benefit, present or anticipated, direct or indirect;
(a) The advising or counselling of another as to secular law;
(b) In behalf of another, the drawing or procuring, or the assisting in the drawing or procuring of a paper, document, or instrument affecting or relating to secular rights;
(c) The doing of any act, in behalf of another, tending to obtain or secure for the other the prevention or the redress of a wrong or the enforcement or establishment of a right; or
(d) Certifying or giving opinions as to title to immovable property or any interest therein or as to the rank or priority or validity of a lien, privilege or mortgage as well as the preparation of acts of sale, mortgages, credit sales or any acts or other documents passing titles to or encumbering immovable property.
B. Nothing in this Section prohibits any person from attending to and caring for his own business, claims, or demands; or from preparing abstracts of title; or from insuring titles to property, movable or immovable, or an interest therein, or a privilege and encumbrance thereon, but every title insurance contract relating to immovable property must be based upon the certification or opinion of a licensed Louisiana attorney authorized to engage in the practice of law. Nothing in this Section prohibits any person from performing, as a notary public, any act necessary or incidental to the exercise of the powers and functions of the office of notary public, as those powers are delineated in Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, Title 35, Section 1, et seq.
C. Nothing in this Section shall prohibit any partnership, corporation, or other legal entity from asserting any claim, not exceeding five thousand dollars, or defense pertaining to an open account or promissory note, or suit for eviction of tenants on its own behalf in the courts of limited jurisdiction on its own behalf through a duly authorized partner, shareholder, officer, employee, or duly authorized agent or representative. No partnership, corporation, or other entity may assert any claim on behalf of another entity or any claim assigned to it.
D. Nothing in Article V, Section 24, of the Constitution of Louisiana or this Section shall prohibit justices or judges from performing all acts necessary or incumbent to the authorized exercise of duties as judge advocates or legal officers.
Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5: Unauthorized Practice of Law
For purposes of this Rule, the practice of law shall include the following activities:
(i) Holding oneself out as an attorney or lawyer authorized to practice law;
(ii) Rendering legal consultation or advice to a client;
(iii) 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 operating in an adjudicative capacity, including submission of pleadings, except as may otherwise be permitted by law;
(iv) Appearing as a representative of the client at a deposition or other discovery matter;
(v) Negotiating or transacting any matter for or on behalf of a client with third parties;
(vi) Otherwise engaging in activities defined by law or Supreme Court decision as constituting the practice of law.

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, in a limited liability company; additionally lawyers may practice in governmental agencies. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

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

The Louisiana 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 Court but may be subject to other notification and registration 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 Louisiana Supreme Court; Law licenses are only issued to individuals.



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 Professional Conduct rule 5.5 on Unauthorized Practice of Law; see also Supreme Court Rule XVII, Section 17).

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?

 A foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence entitling them to offer advisory services in foreign and international law (i.e. become a foreign legal consultant).  The relevant legislation is the Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 37:  Professions and Occupations (REFS and ANNOS), Chapter 4 Appendix. See Article XIV, Section 11 et al, Articles of Incorporation, State Bar of Louisiana; general requirements include that the Supreme Court of Louisiana may license a person to practise as a consultant of foreign law, without examination, if the person is a member in good standing of the profession in a foreign country, has five years of continuous practice or has been a full-time professor for at least five years, and possesses other requirements.  As to scope of practice, a person may render opinions on the law of the foreign jurisdiction or jurisdictions authorised by the Supreme Court, however, they may not appear in court, render advice on the law of a State of the United States, hold themselves out as a member of the Louisiana Bar, and must use the designation 'licensed consultant of the law of [name the foreign country]'.
In order to offer advisory services in foreign and international law, a foreign legal consultant is not required but may enter a commercial association with local lawyers. 

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

An FLC must be in good standing with his/her home bar and use 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)

Licensure as a foreign legal consultant requires 5 years of practice and a certificate of good standing from the lawyer's home bar.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?


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


La Sup. Ct. Rule XVII. Admission to the Bar of the State of Louisiana, Section 13. Pro
Hac Vice Admission.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


A foreign lawyer can obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction. The relevant legislation is Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XVII, which governs admission to practise in Louisiana.  The relevant rule is available online at  In order to obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction, foreign lawyers may seek admission by obtaining an equivalency determination that his or her foreign education is equivalent to that offered at an ABA accredited law school.  The foreign trained lawyer must then meet all requirements placed on applicants educated in the United States and complete 14 hours of study at an ABA accredited law school.


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


Verified by

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (February 2014)

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