Legal ethics question

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273584
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Legal ethics question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:42 pm

Say you're barred as an attorney in New York. You work for a few months as an associate. Then you get a new job in Montana. Can you to the Montana firm, take the bar exam there, and work as a "law clerk" in your new firm until you get your bar results from Montana? Is that allowed? Does it depend by state? Is there an easier way to work in Montana as a lawyer quicker?

I ask because this may affect my own situation.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22888
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Legal ethics question

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:05 pm

If you look at law firm websites in the early fall, and look at new associates, tons of them are listed with as asterisk, saying "admission to [wherever] pending." So yes, you can go to the new state and work there while your results are pending (technically I think you have to have someone senior sign on to everything you do, but in bigger firms you're not going to be filing your own pleadings in the first few months anyway).

There isn't any quicker way I'm aware of - if you were just appearing in Montana on one case you could file a motion to appear pro hac vice (if the state allows that - I think most have some equivalent), which usually requires associating with a practicing lawyer in that state. Or if you'd practiced for 5 years somewhere else you could waive into the bar (if the state allows it). But if you've only practiced for a few months, just take the new state's exam.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273584
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Legal ethics question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:07 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:If you look at law firm websites in the early fall, and look at new associates, tons of them are listed with as asterisk, saying "admission to [wherever] pending." So yes, you can go to the new state and work there while your results are pending (technically I think you have to have someone senior sign on to everything you do, but in bigger firms you're not going to be filing your own pleadings in the first few months anyway).

There isn't any quicker way I'm aware of - if you were just appearing in Montana on one case you could file a motion to appear pro hac vice (if the state allows that - I think most have some equivalent), which usually requires associating with a practicing lawyer in that state. Or if you'd practiced for 5 years somewhere else you could waive into the bar (if the state allows it). But if you've only practiced for a few months, just take the new state's exam.


Okay, thanks. I just thought it was different for some reason if you were already barred in one state versus being never barred.

User avatar
Lwoods
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:27 am

Re: Legal ethics question

Postby Lwoods » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:If you look at law firm websites in the early fall, and look at new associates, tons of them are listed with as asterisk, saying "admission to [wherever] pending." So yes, you can go to the new state and work there while your results are pending (technically I think you have to have someone senior sign on to everything you do, but in bigger firms you're not going to be filing your own pleadings in the first few months anyway).

There isn't any quicker way I'm aware of - if you were just appearing in Montana on one case you could file a motion to appear pro hac vice (if the state allows that - I think most have some equivalent), which usually requires associating with a practicing lawyer in that state. Or if you'd practiced for 5 years somewhere else you could waive into the bar (if the state allows it). But if you've only practiced for a few months, just take the new state's exam.


Okay, thanks. I just thought it was different for some reason if you were already barred in one state versus being never barred.


I used to work at a satellite office of a BigLaw firm. At the 20th anniversary party, the attorneys told stories about how the partners who came from the flagship office to found the satellite office (now partners emeritus) all had to have their memos signed by the then associates (now equity partners) because none of the partners were barred in the satellite office's state yet! :lol:

There are certain things you can't do before admitted to that particular state's bar, but it's not like you'll be the first lawyer to ever move to a new state (with or without reciprocity). Your Montana employer should be able to help you navigate the specific rules there. As Nosy mentioned, there may be reciprocity depending on the specific states and how long you've practiced.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273584
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Legal ethics question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:45 pm

Lwoods wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:If you look at law firm websites in the early fall, and look at new associates, tons of them are listed with as asterisk, saying "admission to [wherever] pending." So yes, you can go to the new state and work there while your results are pending (technically I think you have to have someone senior sign on to everything you do, but in bigger firms you're not going to be filing your own pleadings in the first few months anyway).

There isn't any quicker way I'm aware of - if you were just appearing in Montana on one case you could file a motion to appear pro hac vice (if the state allows that - I think most have some equivalent), which usually requires associating with a practicing lawyer in that state. Or if you'd practiced for 5 years somewhere else you could waive into the bar (if the state allows it). But if you've only practiced for a few months, just take the new state's exam.


Okay, thanks. I just thought it was different for some reason if you were already barred in one state versus being never barred.


I used to work at a satellite office of a BigLaw firm. At the 20th anniversary party, the attorneys told stories about how the partners who came from the flagship office to found the satellite office (now partners emeritus) all had to have their memos signed by the then associates (now equity partners) because none of the partners were barred in the satellite office's state yet! :lol:

There are certain things you can't do before admitted to that particular state's bar, but it's not like you'll be the first lawyer to ever move to a new state (with or without reciprocity). Your Montana employer should be able to help you navigate the specific rules there. As Nosy mentioned, there may be reciprocity depending on the specific states and how long you've practiced.


Okay, so when I do legal research and writing behind the scenes, in the office that's okay? As long as I don't submit anything to anyone with my name on it as an attorney?

User avatar
Lwoods
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:27 am

Re: Legal ethics question

Postby Lwoods » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Lwoods wrote:

I used to work at a satellite office of a BigLaw firm. At the 20th anniversary party, the attorneys told stories about how the partners who came from the flagship office to found the satellite office (now partners emeritus) all had to have their memos signed by the then associates (now equity partners) because none of the partners were barred in the satellite office's state yet! :lol:

There are certain things you can't do before admitted to that particular state's bar, but it's not like you'll be the first lawyer to ever move to a new state (with or without reciprocity). Your Montana employer should be able to help you navigate the specific rules there. As Nosy mentioned, there may be reciprocity depending on the specific states and how long you've practiced.


Okay, so when I do legal research and writing behind the scenes, in the office that's okay? As long as I don't submit anything to anyone with my name on it as an attorney?


I can't tell you. It's going to vary state-by-state, and I don't know the specific ins or outs of any of them. If you already have something lined up Montana, ask your future boss or ask an ethics lawyer there (we can't post legal advice here). If you don't have a job lined up there, you can still reach out to an ethics lawyer there (or there may be a hotline you can call), but you could also just wait to cross that bridge when you come to it.

Simply put, lawyers move just like anybody else, so there are processes in place to deal with the transitions and licensing issues. For specifics, it's best you look outside a message board. I recommend starting with the Montana Bar website (or the bar of whatever state you may go to if Montana was just a hypo).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273584
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Legal ethics question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Okay, so when I do legal research and writing behind the scenes, in the office that's okay? As long as I don't submit anything to anyone with my name on it as an attorney?


Clearly. I am a 3L in Montana and have worked for a well-respected Montana firm for two summers and part time during parts of the school year. When I'm working, I regularly draft dispositive pleadings, motions, and briefs. I write letters. I draft discovery. I talk to clients (who know I am an intern). I have argued in court for paying clients (who know I am an intern).

The only thing I don't do is sign anything. If a student can do all this, there is no reason a barred attorney who is waiting to take the MT bar cannot. Also, MT is adopting the UBE--with reciprocity--in July. You can only practice pro hac vice in MT three times in your entire career. And each time it costs a few hundred bucks.

I don't think any of this is specific to MT.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.