Saturday, May 23, 2015

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BNA INSIGHTS: State Regulation of Unauthorized Practice of Law in Arbitration and Mediation: The Trend Toward Permitting Multijurisdictional Practice in Alternative Dispute Resolution

May a lawyer appear before an arbitration panel which is empanelled in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is not licensed? Lawyers who engage in national practices, including arbitration and mediation, must be aware of the laws of the individual states in which they appear. These state laws proscribe the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) by lawyers who lack licenses in the forum state. While the rules of some arbitration forums, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), permit nationwide representation in arbitrations by lawyers licensed in any jurisdiction, or even non-lawyers, counsel are still subject to local prohibitions on unauthorized practice of law. This article considers the tension between the growing trend towards interstate practice of law, particularly in arbitrations before national forums such as FINRA or the American Arbitration Association, and traditional state regulation of the practice of law…

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