Monday, December 21, 2020

Lawyers Working Remotely - ABA issues Formal Opinion 495

The ABA has provided valuable guidance on working remotely.  The practice of law has been transformed by the internet and those changes accelerated by the pandemic.  For example, in my home jurisdiction - New Jersey - Rule 1:21-1 provides that a lawyer working from home in, for example, New York must designate the Clerk of the Supreme Court as agent for service of process. And maintain "a system of prompt and reliable communication"and shall be reasonably available for in-person consultations requested by clients at mutually convenient times and places." - GWC
American Bar Association
Formal Opinion 495 December 16, 2020 
Lawyers Working Remotely Lawyers may remotely practice the law of the jurisdictions in which they are licensed while physically present in a jurisdiction in which they are not admitted if the local jurisdiction has not determined that the conduct is the unlicensed or unauthorized practice of law and if they do not hold themselves out as being licensed to practice in the local jurisdiction, do not advertise or otherwise hold out as having an office in the local jurisdiction, and do not provide or offer to provide legal services in the local jurisdiction. This practice may include the law of their licensing jurisdiction or other law as permitted by ABA Model Rule 5.5(c) or (d), including, for instance, temporary practice involving other states’ or federal laws. Having local contact information on websites, letterhead, business cards, advertising, or the like would improperly establish a local office or local presence under the ABA Model Rules

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