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Can working remotely violate your state licensing?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Professional License Defense |

The remote practice of law is more common in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Although working remotely and conducting appointments virtually is convenient, there is a problem for lawyers who choose to work in jurisdictions where they do not have bar admittance.

The concern over the physical location

The American Bar Association has specific guidelines concerning how a lawyer can practice law, specifically declaring it a violation if the lawyer practices in a jurisdiction where the attorney did not receive a license. While there are state rules that can also apply in some situations, in general, lawyers are not able to either establish an office, advertise or declare themselves able to practice in a physical location where they do not hold a license.

Given the way remote work takes place or the residency of a potential client, the physical working location of an attorney could come under scrutiny. However, there is the potential for an attorney to provide temporary assistance and legal services although it depends on the state.

The potential concerns with violations

Before an attorney decides to work remotely, it is important to consider the laws of the state and the definition of unauthorized practice of law. A temporary work location may not constitute the attorney establishing an office or continuous presence, potentially avoiding a licensing concern. However, if the attorney lists a physical address that is outside his or her licensed jurisdiction on a website, business cards or other advertising, the board may consider it a violation.

Working remotely requires special consideration. It is important to be clear on what the state rules require of attorneys before deciding to work from home, while on vacation or any location away from the office.

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