Rule 4 Licensing and Practice of Foreign Legal Consultants
Effective Date: 4/1/2013
A. General Regulation as to Licensing. In its discretion, the Supreme Court may license to practice in this State as a foreign legal consultant, without examination, an applicant who:
1. is, and for at least five years has been, a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign country, the members of which are admitted to practice as lawyers 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;
2. for at least five of the seven years immediately preceding application has been a member in good standing of such legal profession and has been lawfully engaged in the practice of law in the foreign country or elsewhere substantially involving or relating to the rendering of advice or the provision of legal services concerning the law of the foreign country;
3. possesses the good moral character and general fitness requisite for a member of the bar of this State; and
4. intends to practice as a foreign legal consultant in this State and to maintain an office in this State for that purpose.
B. Application. An applicant under this Rule shall file, with the State Board of Law Examiners, an application for a foreign legal consultant license, which must include all of the following:
1. a certificate from the professional body or public authority having final jurisdiction over professional discipline in the foreign county in which the applicant is admitted, certifying the applicant's admission to practice, date of admission, and good standing as a lawyer or counselor at law or the equivalent;
2. a letter of recommendation from one of the members of the executive body of the professional body or public authority or from one of the judges of the highest law court or court of original jurisdiction of the foreign country in which the applicant is admitted;
3. duly authenticated English translations of the certificate required by Section B(1) of this Rule and the letter required by Section B(2) of this Rule if they are not in English;
4. other evidence as the Supreme Court may require regarding the applicants educational and professional qualifications, good moral character and general fitness, and compliance with the requirements of Section A of this Rule; and
5. an application fee equivalent to that paid by motion applicants under Rule 7.
C. Scope of Practice. A person licensed to practice as a foreign legal consultant under this Rule may render legal services in this State but shall not be considered admitted to practice law in this State, or in any way hold himself or herself out as a member of the bar of this State, or do any of the following:
1. appear as an lawyer on behalf of another person in any court, or before any magistrate or other judicial officer, in this State (except when admitted pro hac vice pursuant to Rule 3A of the Admission to Practice Rules);
2. prepare any instrument effecting the transfer or registration of title to real estate located in the United States of America;
(a) any will or trust instrument effecting the disposition on death of any property located in and owned by a resident of the United States of America, or
(b) any instrument relating to the administration of a decedent's estate in the United States of America;
4. prepare any instrument in respect of the marital or parental relations, rights or duties of a resident of the United States of America, or the parental rights and responsibilities or care of the children of the resident;
5. render professional legal advice on the law of this State or of the United States of America (whether rendered incident to the preparation of legal instruments or otherwise) except on the basis of advice from a person duly qualified and entitled (other than by virtue of having been licensed under this Rule) to render professional legal advice in this State; or
6. carry on a practice under, or utilize in connection with such practice, any name, title, or designation other than one or more of the following:
(a) the foreign legal consultants own name;
(b) the name of the law firm with which the foreign legal consultant is affiliated;
(c) the foreign legal consultants authorized title in the foreign country where admitted to practice, which may be used in conjunction with the name of the country; and
(d) the title "foreign legal consultant," which may be used in conjunction with the words "admitted to the practice of law in [name of the foreign country where admitted to practice]".
D. Rights and Obligations. Subject to the limitations set forth in Section C of this Rule, a person licensed under this Rule is considered a foreign legal consultant affiliated with the bar of this State and is entitled and subject to:
1. the rights and obligations set forth in the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct or arising from the other conditions and requirements that apply to a member of the bar of this State; and
2. the rights and obligations of a member of the bar of this State with respect to:
(a) affiliation in the same law firm with one or more members of the bar of this State, including by:
(1) employing one or more members of the bar of this State;
(2) being employed by one or more members of the bar of this State or by any partnership or professional corporation that includes members of the bar of this State or that maintains an office in this State; and
(3) being a partner in any partnership or shareholder in any professional corporation that includes members of the bar of this State or that maintains an office in this State; and
(b) lawyer-client privilege, work-product privilege and similar professional privileges.
E. Discipline. A person licensed to practice as a foreign legal consultant under this Rule is subject to professional discipline in the same manner and to the same extent as members of the bar of this State. To this end:
1. Every person licensed to practice as a legal consultant under this Rule:
(a) is subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and to censure, suspension, removal or revocation of the person's license to practice by the Supreme Court and is otherwise governed by the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct; and
(b) shall execute and file with the Supreme Court, in the form and manner as the court may prescribe:
(1) a commitment to observe the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct to the extent applicable to the legal services authorized under Section C of this Rule;
(2) a written undertaking to notify the court of any change in the foreign legal consultants good standing as a member of the foreign legal profession referred to in Section A(1) of this Rule and of any final action of the professional body or public authority referred to in Section B(1) of this Rule imposing any disciplinary censure, suspension, or other sanction upon the foreign legal consultant; and
(3) a duly acknowledged instrument, in writing, providing the foreign legal consultants address in this State and designating the Clerk of the Supreme Court as the consultants agent for service of process. The foreign legal consultant shall keep the clerk advised in writing of any changes of address in this State. In any action or proceeding brought against the foreign legal consultant and arising out of or based upon any legal services rendered or offered to be rendered by the consultant within or to residents of this State, service shall first be attempted upon the consultant at the most recent address filed with the clerk. Whenever after due diligence service cannot be made upon the foreign legal consultant at that address service may be made uponthe clerk. Service made upon the clerk in accordance with this provision is effective as if service had been made personally upon the foreign legal consultant.
2. Service of process on the clerk, pursuant to the designation filed under Section E (1)(b)(3), must be made by personally delivering to the clerks office, and leaving with the clerk or with a deputy or assistant authorized by the clerk to receive service, duplicate copies of the process together with a fee of $10. The clerk shall promptly send one copy to the foreign legal consultant to whom the process is directed, by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the foreign legal consultant at the most recent address provided in accordance with Section E (1)(b)(3).
F. Annual Fee. A person licensed as a foreign legal consultant shall pay an annual fee equivalent to the fee required for a lawyer who has been licensed in this state for five years or more. Fees collected by the State Board of Law Examiners under this rule must be distributed in the manner provided for the distribution of license fees under N.D.C.C. Section 27-12-04.
G. Revocation of License. If the Supreme Court determines that a person licensed as a foreign legal consultant under this Rule no longer meets the requirements for licensure set forth in Section A(1) or Section A(2) of this Rule, it shall revoke the foreign legal consultants license.
H. Admission to Bar. If a person licensed as a foreign legal consultant under this Rule is subsequently admitted as a member of the bar of this State under the Rules governing admission, that persons foreign legal consultant license is deemed superseded by the license to practice law as a member of the bar of this State.
I. Application for Waiver of Provisions. The Supreme Court, upon written application, may waive any provision or vary the application of this Rule where strict compliance will cause undue hardship to the applicant. The application for waiver must be in the form of a verified petition setting forth the applicants name, age, and residence address; the facts relied upon; and a prayer for relief.
[Amended effective March 1, 2009; April 1, 2013.]