Rule 5.5 (Unauthorized Practice of Law) and Rule 8.5 (Disciplinary Authority; Choice of Law) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct encompass the Multijurisdictional Practice Rules (MJP) in Wyoming (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 a safe harbor rule for pro hac vice admission, house attorneys, and attorneys engaged in practice authorized by Wyoming or federal 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. 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 Wyoming admission rules and the rules regulating the attorney’s home jurisdiction, in order to avoid the unauthorized practice of law.
Rule 5.5 and the applicable comments allow active attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions, and not disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in any jurisdiction, to practice law in Wyoming on behalf of the attorney’s employer without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
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 Wyoming for the practice of law and cannot represent or hold himself of herself out to the public as being admitted to practice in Wyoming.
For practice under 5.5(c) (Temporary Practice) or 5.5(d) (House Counsel and Practice Authorized by Law), the following comments apply:
Wyoming Pro Hac Vice. Attorneys may provide temporary legal services in a pending proceeding before a tribunal in Wyoming if the attorney is authorized by law or order to appear in such a proceeding with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in Wyoming and the Wyoming lawyer actively participates in the matter. (5.5(c)).
Wyoming does not offer other rules related to house counsel practice. However, Wyoming’s MJP Rule 5.5 exempts house attorneys from the unauthorized practice of law and the prohibition against establishing an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Wyoming.
Comment 7 states that the rule does not authorized the provision of personal legal services to the employer’s officer or employees. The rule applies to in-house corporate attorneys, government attorneys, and others who are employed to render legal services to the employer if the employer.
Attorneys may also render services in Wyoming authorized by Wyoming 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 Wyoming.
Disciplinary Authority. A lawyer admitted to practice in Wyoming is subject to the disciplinary authority of Wyoming, regardless of where the lawyer’s conduct occurs. A lawyer may be subject to the disciplinary authority of both Wyoming and another jurisdiction for the same conduct. (8.5(a)).
Choice of Law. The Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct are applied as follows:
For conduct in connection with a proceeding pending in a court before which a lawyer has been admitted to practice (either generally or for purposes of that proceeding), the applicable rules are those of the jurisdiction where the court sits, unless the rules of the tribunal provide otherwise. (8.5(b)(1)).
For any other conduct:
If the lawyer is licensed to practice only in Wyoming, the Wyoming rules apply. (8.5(b)(2)(i)).
If the lawyer is licensed to practice Wyoming and another jurisdiction, the rules are those of the admitting jurisdiction where the lawyer principally practices. Provided, however, that if particular conduct clearly has its predominant effect in another jurisdiction where the lawyer is licensed to practice, the rules of that jurisdiction apply to that conduct. (8.5(b)(2)(ii).