At Parkman White, LLP, our practice often takes us to foreign jurisdictions. While we have attorneys licensed in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, D.C. and New York, we often handle cases outside these areas, and have to go through the process of requesting admission to the foreign jurisdiction “pro hac vice.” We know that these applications have to be filed and granted quickly to avoid any concern by the client.
Because we know what it is like to handle cases across the country, we often act as local counsel for attorneys seeking admission pro hac vice in Alabama and have learned to navigate the requirements. Rule 7 of the Rules Governing Admission to the Alabama Bar requires that before a foreign attorney may practice in Alabama pro hac vice, they must associate with local counsel and file an application with the State Bar. This application requires the foreign attorney list all jurisdictions in which they are admitted, and certify all disciplinary actions to which they have been subjected. The foreign attorney must also attach a certificate of good standing dated within 60 days of the application.
The cost of being admitted to Alabama pro hac vice, (not including the costs of local counsel and the costs of obtaining a certificate of good standing) is currently $325.00. Three hundred ($300.00) dollars is the filing fee, while twenty-five ($25.00) dollars is for the Alabama State Bar client security fund.
While foreign attorneys are usually anxious to get their applications filed and approved, the Alabama State Bar requires 21 days notice before a hearing can be held on the pro hac vice application with the Court. After receipt of the pro hac vice notice, and the filing fees, the State Bar will certify to the judge presiding over the case that the application is in order. Then 21 days later, the judge is allowed to approve the application. Unfortunately, the Alabama State Bar has a policy that the pro hac vice application cannot be approved until the Alabama State Bar sends a statement approving the application to the judge, which cannot be done in less than 21 days from filing the application. This requirement appears to be unique to the Alabama system, as our firm has not encountered such a requirement in other states.
If your firm has an Alabama client, but you are not a licensed Alabama attorney, make sure you familiarize yourself with the pro hac vice and local counsel requirements. It is important for you to act quickly due to the 21 day delay built into the approval process, so that you are admitted in a timely manner.