August 1, 2006 March 1, 2016
RULE 8.5 JURISDICTION
1 (a) A lawyer admitted to practice in this jurisdiction is subject to disciplinary action in this
2 jurisdiction even though the conduct of the lawyer giving rise to the discipline may have
3 occurred outside of this jurisdiction and even when that conduct may subject or has subjected
4 the lawyer to discipline by another jurisdiction.
5 (b) Persons not licensed to practice law in this jurisdiction, but eligible to practice elsewhere
6 who actually engage in this jurisdiction in the practice of law, are subject to the disciplinary
7 authority of this jurisdiction.
8 ( c) In any exercise of the disciplinary authority of this jurisdiction, the rules of professional
9 conduct to be applied shall be as follows:
10 (1) for conduct in connection with a matter pending before a tribunal, the rules of the
11 jurisdiction in which the tribunal sits, unless the rules of the tribunal provide otherwise; and
12 (2) for any other conduct, the rules of the jurisdiction in which the lawyer's conduct
13 occurred, or, if the predominant effect of the conduct is in a different jurisdiction, the rules
14 of that jurisdiction shall be applied to the conduct. A lawyer shall not be subject to discipline
15 if the lawyer's conduct conforms to the rules of a jurisdiction in which the lawyer reasonably
16 believes the predominant effect of the lawyer's conduct will occur.
18  In modern practice lawyers frequently act outside the territorial limits of the jurisdiction
19 in which they are licensed to practice, either in another state or outside the United States. In
20 doing so, they remain subject to the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which they are
21 licensed to practice and may also become subject to the authority of the other jurisdiction.
22 Their activity in another jurisdiction may also constitute the unauthorized practice of law in
23 that jurisdiction. See Rule 5.5. When this jurisdiction exercises its authority over persons
24 eligible to practice elsewhere but not here, although there is no license or certificate of
25 admission against which to act the disciplinary authority may enter findings of violations of
26 these rules and enter, as relief, prohibitions from applying for admission here, pro hac vice
27 or otherwise, for a period, and report the action to the jurisdiction in which the person is
29  Lawyers not licensed here may lawfully practice here within the safe harbors identified
30 in Rule 5.5 or when registered or admitted pro hac vice pursuant to applicable rules. Such
31 lawyers are not, by virtue of that limited admission, licensed to practice law in this
32 jurisdiction, but are nonetheless subject to discipline here.
33 Choice of Law
34  A lawyer may be potentially subject to more than one set of rules of professional conduct
35 which impose different obligations. The lawyer may be licensed to practice in more than one
36 jurisdiction with differing rules, or may be admitted to practice before a particular court with
37 rules that differ from those of the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which the lawyer is licensed
38 to practice. Additionally, the lawyer's conduct may involve significant contacts with more
39 than one jurisdiction.
40  Paragraph (b) seeks to resolve such potential conflicts. Its premise is that minimizing
41 conflicts between rules, as well as uncertainty about which rules are applicable, is in the best
42 interest of both clients and the profession (as well as the bodies having authority to regulate
43 the profession). Accordingly, it takes the approach of (i) providing that any particular conduct
44 of a lawyer shall be subject to only one set of rules of professional conduct, (ii) making the
45 determination of which set of rules applies to particular conduct as straightforward as
46 possible, consistent with recognition of appropriate regulatory interests of relevant
47 jurisdictions, and (iii) providing protection from discipline for lawyers who act reasonably
48 in the face of uncertainty.
49  Paragraph ( c)(1) provides that as to a lawyer's conduct relating to a proceeding pending
50 before a tribunal, the lawyer shall be subject only to the rules of the jurisdiction in which the
51 tribunal sits unless the rules of the tribunal, including its choice of law rule, provide
52 otherwise. As to all other conduct, including conduct in anticipation of a proceeding not yet
53 pending before a tribunal, paragraph ( c)(2) provides that a lawyer shall be subject to the rules
54 of the jurisdiction in which the lawyer's conduct occurred, or, if the predominant effect of
55 the conduct is in another jurisdiction, the rules of that jurisdiction shall be applied to the
56 conduct. In the case of conduct in anticipation of a proceeding that is likely to be before a
57 tribunal, the predominant effect of such conduct could be where the conduct occurred, where
58 the tribunal sits or in another jurisdiction.
59  When a lawyer's conduct involves significant contacts with more than one jurisdiction,
60 it may not be clear whether the predominant effect of the lawyer's conduct will occur in a
61 jurisdiction other than the one in which the conduct occurred. So long as the lawyer's conduct
62 conforms to the rules of a jurisdiction in which the lawyer reasonably believes the
63 predominant effect will occur, the lawyer shall not be subject to discipline under this Rule.
64 With respect to conflicts of interest, in determining a lawyer's reasonable belief under
65 paragraph ( c)(2), an agreement, preferably in writing, between the lawyer and client that
66 reasonably specifies a particular jurisdiction as within the scope of that paragraph may be
67 considered if the agreement was obtained with the client's consent confirmed in the
69  If two admitting jurisdictions were to proceed against a lawyer for the same conduct, they
70 should, applying this rule, identify the same governing ethics rules. They should take all
71 appropriate steps to see that they do apply the same rule to the same conduct, and in all events
72 should avoid proceeding against a lawyer on the basis of two inconsistent rules.
73  The choice of law provision applies to lawyers engaged in transnational practice, unless
74 international law, treaties or other agreements between competent regulatory authorities in
75 the affected jurisdictions provide otherwise.
76 Rule 8.5 amended effective 03/01/05, 08/01/06, 03/01/16.
77 Reference: Minutes of the Professional Conduct Subcommittee of the Attorney Standards
78 Committee on 12/13/85 and 01/10/86; Minutes of the Joint Committee on Attorney
79 Standards on 06/24/03, 09/25/03, 11/14/03, 04/16/04, 08/06/04, 09/24/04, 04/08/05,
80 09/13/13, 03/14/14, 09/12/14 .