Rule 16-505 (Unauthorized Practice of Law; MJP Practice of Law) and Rule 16-805 (Disciplinary Authority) of the New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct encompass the MJP rules in New Mexico (not including rules relating to attorneys licensed in foreign countries). For general information about MJP, please see the MJP General page.
Rule 16-505 provides safe harbor provisions for legal practices that out-of-state attorneys may perform in New Mexico without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Rule 805 is not the ABA model rule granting more leeway for attorneys practicing in multiple jurisdictions but still applies to practices of attorneys licensed outside of New Mexico.
Rule 16-505, particularly 16-505(E) and (F), allow active attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions who regularly practice law, and who are not disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, to practice in New Mexico on a temporary basis and to practice as house counsel.
New Mexico’s MJP Rule 16-505 is not the ABA Model Rule 5.5 but contains substantially similar provisions.
Rule 16-505 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 New Mexico for the practice of law and cannot represent or hold himself or herself out to the public as being admitted to practice in New Mexico.
The temporary practices include:
New Mexico does not offer specific rules related to house counsel practice. However, New Mexico’s MJP rule exempts house attorneys from the unauthorized practice of law.
Attorneys may also render services in New Mexico authorized by New Mexico or federal law. (16-505(F)(2)).
New Mexico’s Rule 16-805 is not the ABA Model Rule 8.5. 16-805 states:
A lawyer admitted to practice in New Mexico is subject to the disciplinary authority of New Mexico regardless of where the lawyer’s conduct occurs. A lawyer not admitted in New Mexico is also subject to the disciplinary authority of New Mexico if the lawyer provides or offers to provide any legal services in New Mexico. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both New Mexico and another jurisdiction for the same conduct.