By Krystian Seebert
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.
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. Furthermore, other restrictions may require that the lawyer also operate a physical office in the state of his or her virtual practice.
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.