USA - Utah International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Utah International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

UTAH STATUTES, Title 78A - Judiciary and Judicial Administration, Chapter 09 - Attorneys

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, a JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the Alabama State 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 utah. The right to practise on a temporary basis in another state or to appear pro hac vice in another state depends on the explicity permission of that state.

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










































Rule 14-802. Authorization to practice law.
(a) Except as set forth in subsection (c) of this rule, only persons who are active, licensed members of the Bar in good standing may engage in the practice of law in Utah.
(b) For purposes of this rule:
(b)(1) The “practice of law” is the representation of the interests of another person by informing, counselling, advising, assisting, advocating for or drafting documents for that person through application of the law and associated legal principles to that person’s facts and circumstances.
(b)(2) The “law” is the collective body of declarations by governmental authorities that establish a person’s rights, duties, constraints and freedoms and consists primarily of:
(b)(2)(A) constitutional provisions, treaties, statutes, ordinances, rules, regulations and similarly enacted declarations; and
(b)(2)(B) decisions, orders and deliberations of adjudicative, legislative and executive bodies of government that have authority to interpret, prescribe and determine a person’s rights, duties, constraints and freedoms.
(b)(3) “Person” includes the plural as well as the singular and legal entities as well as natural persons.
(c) Whether or not it constitutes the practice of law, the following activity by a non-lawyer, who is not otherwise claiming to be a lawyer or to be able to practice law, is permitted:
(c)(1) Making legal forms available to the general public, whether by sale or otherwise, or publishing legal self-help information by print or electronic media.
(c)(2) Providing general legal information, opinions or recommendations about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, procedures, options or strategies, but not specific advice related to another person’s facts or circumstances.
(c)(3) Providing clerical assistance to another to complete a form provided by a municipal, state, or federal court located in the State of Utah when no fee is charged to do so.
(c)(4) When expressly permitted by the court after having found it clearly to be in the best interests of the child or ward, assisting one’s minor child or ward in a juvenile court proceeding.
(c)(5) Representing a party in small claims court as permitted by Rule of Small Claims Procedure 13.
(c)(6) Representing without compensation a natural person or representing a legal entity as an employee representative of that entity in an arbitration proceeding, where the amount in controversy does not exceed the jurisdictional limit of the small claims court set by the Utah Legislature.
(c)(7) Representing a party in any mediation proceeding.
(c)(8) Acting as a representative before administrative tribunals or agencies as authorized by tribunal or agency rule or practice.
(c)(9) Serving in a neutral capacity as a mediator, arbitrator or conciliator.
(c)(10) Participating in labour negotiations, arbitrations or conciliations arising under collective bargaining rights or agreements or as otherwise allowed by law.
(c)(11) Lobbying governmental bodies as an agent or representative of others.
(c)(12) Advising or preparing documents for others in the following described circumstances and by the following described persons:
(c)(12)(A) a real estate agent or broker licensed by the state of Utah may complete State-approved forms including sales and associated contracts directly related to the sale of real estate and personal property for their customers.
(c)(12)(B) an abstractor or title insurance agent licensed by the state of Utah may issue real estate title opinions and title reports and prepare deeds for customers.
(c)(12)(C) financial institutions and securities brokers and dealers licensed by Utah may inform customers with respect to their options for titles of securities, bank accounts, annuities and other investments.
(c)(12)(D) insurance companies and agents licensed by the state of Utah may recommend coverage, inform customers with respect to their options for titling of ownership of insurance and annuity contracts, the naming of beneficiaries, and the adjustment of claims under the company’s insurance coverage outside of litigation.
(c)(12)(E) health care providers may provide clerical assistance to patients in completing and executing durable powers of attorney for health care and natural death declarations when no fee is charged to do so.
(c)(12)(F) Certified Public Accountants, enrolled IRS agents, public accountants, public bookkeepers, and tax preparers may prepare tax returns.
Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.
(a) A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so.
(b) A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction shall not:
(b)(1) except as authorized by these Rules or other law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or
(b)(2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.
(c) A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in this jurisdiction that:
(c)(1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter;
(c)(2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in this or another jurisdiction, if the lawyer, or a person the lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;
(c)(3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding 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 and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(c)(4) are not within paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.
(d) A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that:
(d)(1) are provided to the lawyer’s employer or its organizational affiliates and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(d)(2) are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.

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. Fee sharing with non lawyers is prohibited.

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

The Utah code of professional conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code (see: 13)

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 Bar:



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 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 Utah would need to be fully admitted to the Utah 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?













 Yes, if he or she meets the qualifications listed in Rule 14-718:
“(d) Scope of practice. A person licensed to practice as a Foreign Legal Consultant under this rule may render legal services in this state with respect to the law of the foreign county in which such person is admitted to practice law subject, however, to the limitations that she or he shall not violate any provision of the Rule 14-802 and further specifically, shall not:
(d)(1) appear for a person other than herself or himself as attorney in any court, or before any magistrate or other judicial officer, in Utah other than upon qualified admission pro hac vice pursuant to Rule 14-806; or
(d)(2) prepare any instrument effecting the transfer or registration of title to real estate located in the United States; or
(d)(3) prepare any will or trust instrument effecting the disposition on death of any property located in the United States and owned by a resident of the United States or any instrument relating to the administration of a decedent's estate in the United States; or
(d)(4) prepare any instrument in respect of the marital or parental relations, rights or duties of a resident of the United States, or the custody or care of the children of such a resident; or
(d)(5) render professional legal advice on the law of this state or of the United States (whether rendered incident to the preparation of legal instruments or otherwise) except on the basis of advice from a person duly qualified and entitled to render professional legal advice in this state;
(d)(6) be, or in any way hold herself or himself out as a member of the Bar; or
(d)(7) carry on her or his practice under, or utilize in connection with such practice, any name, title or designation other than the following:
(d)(7)(A) her or his own name;
(d)(7)(B) the name of the law firm or other entity with which she or he is affiliated, in each case only in conjunction with the title "Foreign Legal Consultant" as set forth below;
(d)(7)(C) her or his authorized title in the foreign county of her or his admission to practice, in each case only in conjunction with the title "Foreign Legal Consultant" as set forth below; and
(d)(7)(D) the title "Foreign Legal Consultant", which shall be used in conjunction with the words “admitted to the practice of law only in [name of the foreign country or her or his admission to practice].””

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

An office must be maintained in the state and annual licensing fees must be paid.

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







 Rule 14-718:
“The burden of proof is on the Applicant to establish by clear and convincing evidence that she or he:
(a)(1) is a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign country, the members of which are admitted to practice as attorneys or counselors at law or the equivalent and are subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or a public authority; and
(a)(2) has paid the prescribed fee and filed a Complete Application as a Foreign Legal Consultant Applicant;
(a)(3) is of the good moral character and satisfies the requirements of Rule 14-708;
(a)(4) intends to practice as a legal consultant in this state and to maintain an office in this state for that purpose; and
(a)(5) has passed the MPRE.
(b) Proof required. An Applicant shall file with the Bar's Admissions Office:
(b)(1) a certificate from the professional body or public authority in such foreign county having final jurisdiction over professional discipline, certifying as to the Applicant's admission to practice and the date, and as to her or his good standing as such attorney or counselor at law or the equivalent;
(b)(2) a duly authenticated English translation of such certificate, if it is not in English; and
(b)(3) such other evidence as to the Applicant's educational and professional qualifications, good moral character and general fitness, and compliance with the requirements of this rule as the Bar may require.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?


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

Utah Supreme Court Rules of Professional Practice, Rule 11-302. Admission Pro Hac

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


A foreign lawyer with a law degree from an English common-law jurisdiction may sit for the bar exam after practicing law for 2 years in a common law jurisdiction and completing 24 semester hours at an ABA-approved law school.  See Rule 14-703(b).


Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence 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?

Not applicable

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

Not applicable



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Utah State Bar (February 2014)

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