Virtually Impossible: The Many Barriers to Multi-Jurisdictional Virtual Legal Practice

By Krystian Seebert 

I. Introduction

Imagine that a client schedules a consultation with his lawyer. After listening to the client’s story, the attorney advises the client, and the two conclude their meeting.  This is a standard consultation, right?  Wrong.  Thanks to the power of modern technology, the client and his lawyer do not have to meet face-to-face.  In fact, the lawyer’s permanent Virtual Legal Office (“VLO”) could be halfway across the country from the client.[1]

If such a meeting really happened, ABA Model Rule 5.5 (the “Rule”) requires that the lawyer be admitted to the bar in the state of his or her office.[2]  Furthermore, other restrictions may require that the lawyer also operate a physical office in the state of his or her virtual practice.[3]

This article reviews how the current rules on the remote practice of law developed, examines the current state of the law governing virtual legal practice, and finally argues that overly-restrictive regulation of VLOs has negative policy implications for the modern world.

Continue reading “Virtually Impossible: The Many Barriers to Multi-Jurisdictional Virtual Legal Practice”