LexisNexis

USA - Missouri International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Missouri International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Chapter 484, MISSOURI Revised STATUTES.  The Supreme Court has inherent authority to regulate the practice of 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?

The individual meets the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 8 including having first professional degree in law or JD, satisfying character and fitness to practice requirements, and passing an examination or being admitted without examination because licensed in another jurisdiction.

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 entitles the holder to practise in all state courts in Missouri. Each jurisdiction establishes its own criteria for who can practice law in that jurisdiction.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The practice of law as defined by the Supreme Court of Missouri is reserved to licensees.  In addition, section484.010 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri limits the practice of law for purposes of imposing sanctions on those violating its provisions. The section provides: Practice of the law and law business defined.
1. The ""practice of the law"" is hereby defined to be and is the appearance as an advocate in a representative capacity or the drawing of papers, pleadings or documents or the performance of any act in such capacity in connection with proceedings pending or prospective before any court of record, commissioner, referee or any body, board, committee or commission constituted by law or having authority to settle controversies.
2. The ""law business"" is hereby defined to be and is the advising or counselling for a valuable consideration of any person, firm, association, or corporation as to any secular law or the drawing or the procuring of or assisting in the drawing for a valuable consideration of any paper, document or instrument affecting or relating to secular rights or the doing of any act for a valuable consideration in a representative capacity, obtaining or tending to obtain or securing or tending to secure for any person, firm, association or corporation any property or property rights whatsoever.

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

Must be a citizen or national of the United States, an immigrant alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, or an alien otherwise authorized to work lawfully in the United States.

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. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

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

The Missouri code of professional conduct, which is contained in Supreme Court Rule 4.

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

Only individuals are licensed.  Firms must meet whatever requirements are otherwise applicable to the particular form under which the firm wishes to operate, but those forms are not regulated as a part of the practice of law.

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

Licences are issued by the Supreme Court of Missouri.  There is no authority to license firms. 

   

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, this is only permitted to lawyers from other US states (see Professional Conduct Rule 4-5.5 on Unauthorised 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 practise law on a fly in fly out basis in Missouri would need to be fully admitted to the Missouri 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 Supreme Court Rules 9.05 to 9.12.  This is available online at www.courts.mo.gov/page.asp?id=712.

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

In order to offer advisory services in foreign and international law, a foreign legal consultant must enter a commercial association with local lawyers.

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, a minimum age of 26 years, an experience requirement (5 of the 7 years preceding registration must have been spent practising law), passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, certification of registration and good standing with home-country bar.  See Supreme Court Rules 9.05 to 9.12 relating to foreign legal consultants.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

Arbitration and mediation do not require a law license.

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

Missouri Supreme Court Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary.  See Supreme Court Rule 9. 

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

A foreign lawyer can obtain a full license to practice law in this jurisdiction.  Graduates who have passed the bar exam in another state and hold an active law license are eligible to take the bar exam with either (1) full-time practice for 3 of the 5 years preceding application or (2) completion of 24 credit hours in residence at an ABA-approved law school within the 3 years prior to application. Graduates who are not licensed in another state must be admitted to practice law in the foreign country where the foreign law degree was conferred and be in good standing with either (1) full-time practice for 3 of the 5 years preceding the application or (2) completion of 24 credit hours in residence at an ABA-approved law school within the 3 years prior to application The relevant legislation is Supreme Court of Missouri Rule No 8.  This is available online at www.courts.mo.gov/pageasp?id=711.
In order to obtain a full license to practice law in this jurisdiction, foreign lawyers must:
(i) file the prescribed application forms and pay the fee;
(ii) pass the Missouri Bar examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility exam;
(iii) be a citizen or national of the US or a lawful permanent resident or an alien authorized to work in the United States;
(iv) receive approval of Board of Legal Examiners;                     
(v) graduate with a JD or first professional degree in law from an ABA approved law school or if the law degree is from a foreign or non-ABA approved law school, meet the following requirements:
(a) be admitted to practice law in the foreign country where the applicant's law degree was conferred or in another US jurisdiction; and either
(b) have practiced law where admitted for at least three years prior to application; or
(c) have completed 24 semester credit hours and residence at an ABA approved law school.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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 if it meets the requirements applicable to any other business.

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)

 There may be licensing requirements imposed on all businesses in the jurisdiction where the firm seeks to establish an office.

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

No

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

No

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? Only those applicable to corporations generally.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Supreme Court Rule 4-7.5 sets out the limitations.
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?

Yes

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

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Verified by

Missouri Board of Bar Examiners (December 2013)