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USA - Maryland International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Maryland International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND BUSINESS OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS, TITLE 10. LAWYERS

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 and a JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the 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 practice in Maryland. The right to practice 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND BUSINESS OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS, TITLE 10. LAWYERS SUBTITLE 1--DEFINITIONS; GENERAL PROVISIONS § 10-101. Definitions
Sec. 10-101(h)
(1) “Practice law” means to engage in any of the following activities:
(i) giving legal advice;
(ii) representing another person before a unit of the State government or of a political subdivision; or
(iii) performing any other service that the Court of Appeals defines as practicing law.
(2) “Practice law” includes:
(i) advising in the administration of probate of estates of decedents in an orphans’ court of the State;
(ii) preparing an instrument that affects title to real estate;
(iii) preparing or helping in the preparation of any form or document that is filed in a court or affects a case that is or may be filed in a court; or
(iv) giving advice about a case that is or may be filed in a court.
§ 10-206. Bar admission requirement
(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, before an individual may practice law in the State, the individual shall:
(1) be admitted to the Bar; and
(2) meet any requirement that the Court of Appeals may set by rule.
(b) This section does not apply to:
(1) a person while representing a landlord in a summary ejectment or a rent escrow proceeding in the District Court of Maryland;
(2) A person while representing a tenant in a summary ejectment or a rent escrow proceeding in the District Court of Maryland if the person is:
(i) a law student practicing in a clinical law program at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association with the in-court supervision of a faculty member; or
(ii) employed by a non-profit organization receiving grants from the Maryland Legal Services Corporation and:
1. The person has training and experience;
2. The person is supervised by a lawyer; and
3. The supervising lawyer's appearance is entered in the proceeding;
(3) An insurance company while defending an insured through staff counsel;
(4) an officer of a corporation, an employee designated by an officer of a corporation, a partner in a business operated as a partnership or an employee designated by a partner, a member of a limited liability company or an employee designated by a member of a limited liability company, or an employee designated by the owner of a business operated as a sole proprietorship while the officer, partner, member, or employee is appearing on behalf of the corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or business in a civil action in the District Court of Maryland if:
(i) the action:
1. is based on a claim that does not exceed the amount set under § 4-405 of the Courts Article for a small claim action; and
2. is not based on an assignment, to the corporation, partnership, or business, of the claim of another;
(ii) in the case of a designated employee, the employee:
1. is not be assigned on a full-time basis to appear in the District Court on behalf of the corporation, partnership, or business;
2. provides the court a power of attorney sworn to by the employer that certifies that the designated employee is an authorized agent of the corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or sole proprietorship and may bind the corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or sole proprietorship on matters pending before the court; and
3. is not be an individual who is disbarred or suspended as a lawyer in any state; and
(iii) the corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or business does not contract, hire, or employ another business entity to provide appearance services;
(5) an individual who is authorized by a county employee to represent the employee at any step of the county's grievance procedure; or
(6) a director or an officer of a common ownership community while representing the common ownership community in a dispute, hearing, or other matter before a board or commission established to oversee one or more of the following common ownership communities:
(i) a development subject to a declaration enforced by a homeowners association as defined in § 11B-101 of the Real Property Article;
(ii) a residential condominium as defined in § 11-101 of the Real Property Article; or
(iii) a cooperative housing corporation as defined in § 5-6B-01 of the Corporations and Associations Article.
(c) (1) In this subsection, "practice patent law":
(i) means to perform professional services that the Patent and Trademark Office requires to be performed by an individual registered to practice before that Office; and
(ii) Includes preparing a copyright application or assignment and submitting it to the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.
(2) While there is a Patent and Trademark Office in the State, an individual may practice patent law in the State if the individual is:
(i) authorized to practice law in any other state; and
(ii) registered to practice patent law before the Patent and Trademark Office.
(3) Unless otherwise authorized under this title, an individual who practices patent law under this subsection may not:
(i) appear as an attorney at law in a court; or
(ii) practice law generally in the State.
(d) (1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, this section does not apply to an individual while giving legal advice to a corporation in this State if the individual is:
(i) employed by the corporation; and
(ii) admitted to the bar of any other state.
(2) An individual who gives legal advice under this subsection:
(i) is subject to disciplinary proceedings as the Maryland Rules provide;
(ii) may not appear before a unit of the State government or of a political subdivision unless a court grants the individual a special admission in accordance with § 10-215 of this subtitle.
It is prohibited to hold oneself out as authorized to practice law by the use of a title (i.e. “lawyer”) or by description of services offered or otherwise, unless the person is authorized to practice law.  § 10-602 of this subtitle.

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 practice as a sole practitioner, in a general or limited liability partnership, in a professional association, in a limited liability company, or in a professional corporation. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

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

The Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code:http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode

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

Not from the Court but may be subject to other business related 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 State court: http://www.courts.state.md.us/attygrievance/index.html

   

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.  Temporary practice in Maryland is only permitted to a lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction (see Rule 5.5 of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct on Unauthorized Practice of Law).

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 practice law on a fly in fly out basis in Maryland would need to be fully admitted to the Maryland 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 Maryland

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?

.

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

 

 Foreign lawyers are permitted to appear in court where the foreign lawyer is a member in good standing of the Bar of another State per Rule 14 entitled “Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Maryland”
http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

A graduate of a foreign law school may qualify to apply for a waiver to take the Maryland Bar Examination if he or she has been admitted by exam in another U.S. jurisdiction or is admitted in a foreign jurisdiction and has completed a minimum of 26 credit hours of study at an ABA approved law school in Maryland in the subjects covered in the Maryland Bar Examination. A foreign lawyer cannot obtain a full licence to practice law in this jurisdiction.  However, if there is no holding out by the foreign attorney indicating ability to practice law in Maryland, he or she can advise on foreign law.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

No

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? 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

 

Verified by

Bar Counsel, Attorney Grievance Commission, Maryland (December 2013)