I am licensed to practice in the state courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and in the federal courts of the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey. This means I do not have the right to practice in 48 states, or the federal courts of the Western District of Pennsylvania. This is because the right to practice laws is regulated by each individual state. But unlike a driver’s license or a marriage license, attorney licenses in one state are not recognized by other states. Thus, I can drive to Delaware, but I cannot practice law there.
That said, most courts routinely provide special permission to out of state attorneys to handle individual matters pending in their courts. This is referred to as pro hac vice admission. I was recently granted pro hac vice admission to represent a long-time client in a case pending in Los Angeles. Sounds like fun, right? Practice a little law, take in some California sun, do a little sight seeing. So far, not so much. Thanks to the app we call Zoom, so far all of my appearances in the California case have taken place remotely from my office in Huntingdon Valley. But until this Blog post, no one actually knew this. I have an awesome Zoom background of Santa Monica pier, so I fit right in with the other attorneys in the case. I am still working on dropping my Philly accent, which could take a while. Hopefully, I will have accomplished that feat before California courts reopen for in person hearings and I get to travel to the left coast to do my lawyer thing.