SC Lawyer, Nov. 2005, #5. Admitting out-of-state lawyers to the Bar: open the door? If so, how far?.

AuthorBy Richard Few and Erika Newsom

South Carolina Lawyer


SC Lawyer, Nov. 2005, #5.

Admitting out-of-state lawyers to the Bar: open the door? If so, how far?

South Carolina LawyerNovember 2005Admitting out-of-state lawyers to the Bar: open the door? If so, how far?By Richard Few and Erika NewsomThe issueIt's not uncommon to hear lawyers today commenting about how much the practice of law has changed in recent years. With e-mail and the Internet, our practices certainly move at a much brisker pace. But, the instant connectivity we have been afforded in the technology age has also made lawyers more mobile. That mobility means that virtually any lawyer can handle a case or a transaction almost anywhere in the United States (and, in some cases, the rest of the world) all without leaving the relative comfort of his or her office.

As a result, South Carolina lawyers see out-of-state lawyers more often in our courtrooms and in our business clients' boardrooms handling matters for clients who might be from as far away as Maine or California. Likewise, South Carolina lawyers can frequently be found in other jurisdictions helping their Palmetto State clients with problems or opportunities beyond our borders. In the past, these occurrences were more random and caused little or no concern. However, these days, as law firms and lawyers follow their clients and practice opportunities across state lines, more questions and issues arise concerning the freedom of lawyers to practice in more than one state and the overriding need to regulate the practice of lawyers in order to protect the public.

These questions and issues as they relate to admitting out-of-state lawyers to our Bar have been the focus of discussion and debate recently in the South Carolina Bar's House of Delegates and Professional Responsibility Committee (the PRC). The focal point of these discussions is S.C. Supreme Court Rule 402, which regulates the admission of lawyers to practice law in South Carolina. As currently stated, Rule 402 contains no different requirements for admission to the Bar for any person, whether he or she is a newly graduated law student or an attorney from another state with significant years of practice, except for a narrow exemption under subsection (m) for tenured professors and deans. For the past several months, the House of Delegates and the PRC have been considering whether there is merit in modifying the requirements for admission of out-of-state lawyers to the South Carolina Bar. Current admission requirements

Rule 402(c) provides nine basic qualifications for a person to be admitted to the South Carolina Bar, which are set forth below:

The applicant must be at least 21 years of age. The applicant must be of good moral character. The applicant must...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT