Rule 5.5 (Unauthorized Practice of Law) and Rule 8.5 (Jurisdiction) of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct encompass the Multijurisdictional Rules (MJP) in Arizona (not including rules relating to attorneys licensed in foreign countries). For general information about MJP, please see the MJP General page.
Rule 5.5 provides safe harbors for legal practices that out-of-state attorneys may perform in Arizona without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. 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. Attorneys should consult both of the MJP rules, as well as the other Arizona admission rules and the rules regulating the attorney’s home jurisdiction, in order to avoid the unauthorized practice of law.
Rule 5.5, particularly 5.5(c) and (d), and the applicable comments allow attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions, and not disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, to practice law in Arizona on a temporary basis and to practice as Arizona House Counsel.
Rule 5.5 generally prohibits attorneys from practicing law in a jurisdiction in a way that would violate the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction. Out-of-state attorneys cannot establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Arizona for the practice of law and cannot represent or hold himself or herself out to the public as being admitted to practice in Arizona.
Comment 2 states that out-of-state attorneys may comply with 5.5(b)(2), regarding holding himself or herself out to the public as an Arizona attorney, by stating in any advertisement or communication that target or specifically offers legal services to Arizona residents that: (1) the attorney is not licensed by the Arizona Supreme Court; or (2) the non-member’s practice is limited to federal or tribal legal matters (for example, the attorney may state his or her practice is limited to immigration matters).
The MJP Rule contains a mandatory provision of advising the client that the attorney is not admitted in Arizona and must obtain the client’s informed consent for the representation. (5.5(e)). Attorneys must comply with the Arizona Pro Hac Vice Rules for any appearance before a court of record or before an administrative hearing officer. (5.5(f)). Attorneys are subject to the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct and the Arizona Supreme Court Rules for disciplinary purposes. (5.5(g)).
The temporary practices include:
House attorneys may practice under the Arizona House Counsel Rules. Arizona’s MJP rule also exempts registered house attorneys from the unauthorized practice of law and the prohibition against establishing an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Arizona.
Attorneys may also render services in Arizona authorized by Arizona or federal law. (5.5(d)(2)). Practice under this MJP rule exempts attorneys from the prohibition against establishing an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Arizona.
Disciplinary Authority. A lawyer admitted to practice in Arizona is subject to the disciplinary authority of Arizona, regardless of where the lawyer’s conduct occurs. A lawyer not admitted in Arizona is also subject to the disciplinary authority of Arizona if the lawyer provides or offers to provide any legal services in Arizona. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both Arizona and another jurisdiction for the same conduct. (8.5(a)).
Choice of Law. The Arizona 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 those of the jurisdiction where the lawyer’s conduct occurred, or, if the predominant effect of the conduct is in a different jurisdiction, the rules of that jurisdiction will be applied to the conduct. A lawyer is not subject to discipline if the lawyer’s conduct conforms to the rules of a jurisdiction where the lawyer reasonably believes the predominant effect of the lawyer’s conduct will occur. (8.5(b)(2)).
Comment 2 states that conflict of law principles apply if the rules of professional conduct differ in two different jurisdictions.
Comment 3 states where the lawyer is licensed to practice law in two jurisdictions which impose conflicting obligations, applicable rules of choice of law may govern the situation. A related problem arises with respect to practice before a federal tribunal, where the general authority of the states to regulate the practice of law must be reconciled with such authority as federal tribunals may have to regulate practice before them.