USA - New Hampshire International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - New Hampshire International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector


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.  Registration occurs manually.

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 New Hampshire. 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?








N.H. Sup. Ct. R. 35, Rule 1-9  - There is no satisfactory, all-inclusive definition of what constitutes the practice of law. Ethical Consideration 3-5 (E.C. 3-5) of the former Code of Professional Responsibility provided:
""It is neither necessary nor desirable to attempt the formulation of a single, specific definition of what constitutes the practice of law. Functionally, the practice of law relates to the rendition of services for others that call for the professional judgment of a lawyer. The essence of the professional judgment of a lawyer is his educated ability to relate the general body and philosophy of law to a specific legal problem of a client; and thus, the public interest will be better served if only lawyers are permitted to act in matters involving professional judgment.”
HB 1420 – CHAPTER 218:1, LAWS OF 2002 AN ACT establishing a task force to define the practice of law in New Hampshire.
The above-named Task Force appointed to define the practice of law in New Hampshire, having duly met offers the following final report:
“We are unable to reach a consensus of opinion in order to offer specific findings and recommendations on the practice of law in New Hampshire”.

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 partnership, professional corporation or professional limited liability partnership. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

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

 The New Hampshire code of professional conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code

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

The New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct which are modelled on the ABA model code (see:

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

Licences are issued by the State 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?

Temporary practice by foreign lawyers is permitted under N.H. Sup. Ct. R. 42C, if the services (1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in New Hampshire and who actively participates in the matter;  (2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal held or to be held in a jurisdiction outside the United States if the lawyer, or a person the lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or by order of the tribunal to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;  (3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding held or to be held 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;  (4) are not within paragraphs (2) or (3) and  (i) are performed for a client who resides or has an office in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is authorized to practice to the extent of that authorization; or  (ii) arise out of or are reasonably related to a matter that has a substantial connection to a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is authorized to practice to the extent of that authorization; or  (5) are governed primarily by international law or the law of a non-United States jurisdiction.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?




Foreign lawyers would not be able to obtain visas to practise law in New Hampshire. It is possible that they may qualify under the USA's WTO commitments as "service salespersons" if they 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.  N.H. Sup. Ct. R. 42D.  A foreign lawyer may render legal services in this jurisdiction but shall not be considered admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction, or in any way hold himself or herself out as a member of the bar of this jurisdiction, or do any of the following: (a) appear as a lawyer on behalf of another person in court (b) prepare any instrument effecting transfer or registration of title to real estate; (c) prepare instruments related to decedent’s estates; (d) prepare instruments related to marital or parental rights; (e) render advice on the law of N.H. or the United States.

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

Must comply with Rules of Professional Conduct; must comply with requirements of active membership in the N.H. bar; must provide N.H. Supreme Court with written document affirming his or her responsibilities (N.H. Sup. Ct. R. 42D (6)(a)).

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

The N.H. Supreme Court may license an applicant who (a) is and for at least five years has been a member in good standing it a foreign country, and is subject to effective regulation and discipline; (b) for at least five of the seven immediately preceding years has been a member in good standing and has been primarily engaged in the active practice of law; (c) possesses the good moral character and fitness required of a member of the N.H. bar; and (d) intends to practice as a foreign legal consultant in N.H. and to maintain an office in N.H. for that purpose.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?


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


There is a pro hac vice rule in New Hampshire but it does not explicitly recognise foreign lawyers as eligible under this rule. See

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


N.H. Sup. Ct. R. 42(V)(c). A foreign lawyer may obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction if he or she meets the educational requirements of the rule and is otherwise eligible for admission through the bar exam or by motion.  Graduate must be legally trained in common law, and a determination of educational equivalency is required. Graduate must be a member in good standing in home jurisdiction. In addition, one of the following requirements must also be met: additional education at an ABA-approved law school or admission in another U.S. jurisdiction. Foreign law graduates are only eligible for admission without examination if they meet other requirements for reciprocal admission for lawyers licensed in other states.


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

Not applicable

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?

No Non-NH Lawyers cannot be owners of a NH law firm

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 - not for a NH law firm, but for something else.

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

Yes - as long as follows rules for non-NH lawyer employees



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