For general information about Multijurisdictional Practice (MJP), please see the MJP General page.
The District of Columbia has not adopted a version of ABA Model Rule 5.5 for the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct that would allow attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions to practice law in D.C. without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. (DC MJP 5.5).
Rule 8.5 recognizes that attorneys practicing in more than one jurisdiction will likely be subject to conflicting admission rules, court rules, or rules of professional conduct. Rule 8.5 attempts to minimize such conflicts and the uncertainty regarding which rules are applicable by establishing the set of rules governing the attorney’s conduct. Attorneys should consult both of the MJP rules, as well as the other D.C. admission rules and the rules regulating the attorney’s home jurisdiction, in order to avoid the unauthorized practice of law.
Disciplinary Authority. A lawyer admitted to practice in District of Columbia is subject to the disciplinary authority of District of Columbia, regardless of where the lawyer’s conduct occurs. A lawyer not admitted in District of Columbia is also subject to the disciplinary authority of District of Columbia if the lawyer provides or offers to provide any legal services in District of Columbia. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both District of Columbia and another jurisdiction for the same conduct. (8.5(a)).
Choice of Law. The rules of professional conduct are applied as follows:
For conduct in connection with a matter pending before a tribunal, the applicable rules are those of the jurisdiction where the tribunal sits, unless the rules of the tribunal provide otherwise. (8.5(b)(1)).
For any other conduct:
The applicable rules are the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct if the lawyer is licensed to practice only in D.C. (8.5(b)(2)(i)).
If the lawyer is licensed to practice in D.C. and another jurisdiction, the applicable rules are those of the admitting jurisdiction where the lawyer principally practices. If the particular conduct clearly has its predominant effect in another jurisdiction where the lawyer is licensed to practice, the rules of that jurisdiction will be applied to that conduct. (8.5(b)(2)(ii)).
As discussed above, Comment 2 states that a lawyer may be potentially subject to more than one set of rules of professional conduct and those rules may impose different obligations. The lawyer may be licensed to practice in more than one jurisdiction with differing rules, or may be admitted to practice before a particular court with rules that differ from those of the jurisdiction(s) where the lawyer is licensed.