D.C. Pro Hac Vice

Rule 49(c)(7) of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules and Super. Ct. Rule 101(3) provide the rules regarding admission for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions who are seeking pro hac vice admission.

Pro hac vice appearances are meant to be an exception to the general prohibition against practicing law in D.C. without the benefit of membership to the D.C. Bar. Pro hac vice admission is considered a privilege for out-of-state attorneys who may, from time to time, be involved in a particular case that requires an appearance before a D.C. court.

Please also see the D.C. Miscellaneous page to view the requirements for alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

Eligible attorneys are not members in good standing of the D.C. Bar but are members in good standing of the bar of any United States court or of the highest court of any state.

Attorneys may provide legal services in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding in a court of the D.C., if the attorney has been or reasonably expects to be admitted pro hac vice.

Attorneys cannot apply for pro hac vice more than five times in one calendar year, except for exceptional cause shown to the court. Attorneys also cannot maintain or operate from an office or location for the practice of law within D.C., unless the attorney qualifies under another express exception provided in section 49(c).

Any person admitted pro hac vice must comply with Superior Court Civil Rule 101 (Appearance and Withdrawal of Attorneys) and other applicable rules of the D.C. courts.

Attorneys seeking admission pro hac vice in the Superior Court must associate with an enrolled, active member of the D.C. Bar who has continuing responsibilities as associated counsel. The local D.C. lawyer must be prepared to go forward with the case at all times and will sign all documents subsequently filed. The D.C. attorney must also attend all subsequent proceedings in the action, unless the judge presiding at the proceeding in question waives the requirement.

The fact that an attorney is associated with a law firm that maintains an office in D.C. does not, by itself, establish that that attorney is maintaining an office in D.C. The pro hac vice rules do not permit the regular practice of law in D.C. by an attorney admitted only in another jurisdiction upon the assertion that the person is a practicing litigator who appears no more than five times per calendar year in the courts.

Attorneys are required to complete an Application to participate pro hac vice with a $100 fee to be paid to the Clerk of Court.  The fee may be waived for a person whose conduct is covered by Rule 49(c)(9) (Pro Bono Legal Services), or whose client’s application to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted.

Attorneys are required to first submit a copy of the application to the office of the Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law with the fee. Proof of service shall be made by the filing of a certificate of the attorney showing the date and manner of service. The Committee will then send the attorney a receipt for payment of the fee.  Attorneys will file the application and the receipt in the appropriate office of the Clerk of Court. Only certified checks, cashiers checks, or money orders will be accepted in payment of the fee, made payable to “Clerk, D.C. Court of Appeals.” The application will not be accepted for filing without the required receipt.

The application requires a declaration that:

  • Certifies the applicant has not applied for admission pro hac vice in more than five cases in D.C. courts in this calendar year;
  • Identifies all jurisdictions and courts where the applicant is a member of the bar in good standing;
  • Certifies there are no disciplinary complaints pending against the applicant for violation of the rules of any jurisdiction or court, or describing all pending complaints;
  • Certifies the applicant has not been suspended or disbarred for disciplinary reasons or resigned with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court, or describing the circumstances of all suspensions, disbarments, or resignations;
  • Certifies the applicant has not had an application for admission to the D.C. Bar denied, or describing the circumstances of all such denials;
  • Agrees to promptly notify the Court if, during the course of the proceeding, the person is suspended or disbarred for disciplinary reasons or resigns with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court;
  • Identifies by name, address, and D.C. Bar number the D.C. Bar member with whom the applicant is associated under Super. Ct. Civ. R. 101;
  • Certifying that the applicant does not practice or hold out to practice law in D.C. or that the applicant qualifies under an identified exception in Rule 49(c);
  • Certifies that the applicant has read the rules of the relevant division of the Superior Court of D.C. and the D.C. Court of Appeals, and has complied fully with D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 49 and, as applicable, Super. Ct. Civ. R. 101;
  • Explains the reasons for the application;
  • Acknowledges the power and jurisdiction of the courts of the D.C. over the applicant’s professional conduct in or related to the proceeding; and
  • Agrees to be bound by the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules of Professional Conduct in the matter, if the applicant is admitted pro hac vice.

The court to which the relevant litigation matter is assigned may grant or deny the applications and withdraw pro hac vice admission in its discretion.