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USA - Tennessee International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Tennessee International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED, TITLE 23. ATTORNEYS-AT-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?

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 practise in Tennessee. 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?

 

 

 

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED, TITLE 23. ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW
CHAPTER 3. UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE AND IMPROPER CONDUCT
PART 1--GENERAL PROVISIONS
§23-3-101. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires: (1) ""Law business"" means 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 secure for any person, firm, association or corporation any property or property rights whatsoever, or the soliciting of clients directly or indirectly to provide such services; and (2) ""Practice of law"" means 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, commissioner, referee or any body, board, committee or commission constituted by law or having authority to settle controversies, or the soliciting of clients directly or indirectly to provide such services.

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 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 Tennessee code of professional conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code (see:http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/rules/supreme-court/8)

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.

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

Licences are issued by the State Supreme Court.

   

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 5.5 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 practise law on a fly in fly out basis in South Dakota would need to be fully admitted to the South Dakota 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 Tennessee

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?

Tennessee Supreme Court revised its pro hac vice rule, but not closely following the ABA model.
Amended pro hac vice admission rule, effective October 1, 2004.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

A foreign lawyer can obtain a full license to practice law in this jurisdiction.
The relevant legislation is Rule 7 of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules.  This is available online at tsc.state.tn.us/opinions/tsc/rules/tnrulesofcourt/scindex.htm.
In order to obtain a full license to practice law in this jurisdiction, foreign lawyers must meet educational requirements of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rule No 7, sections 7.01 and 2.01 and pass the Tennessee Bar examination.
These rules are different from the rules applicable to a local applicant.  They differ in that local lawyers must meet the educational requirements of Rule 7, section 2.01 and pass the Tennessee Bar examination. The foreign applicant’s total education must be found to be substantially equivalent and applicant must complete 24 hours at an ABA-approved law school or 1/3 credits needed at a Tennessee-approved law school.
 

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Board of Professional Responsibility, Supreme Court of Tennessee (January 2014)

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

Board of Professional Responsibility, Supreme Court of Tennessee (January 2014)