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Can a lawyer from north carolina practice in the state of florida when not licensed in florida state

Seminole, FL |
Filed under: Professional ethics

can a lawyer from north carolina, practice law or give legal adviced in florida without being licensed in the state of Fl?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. In general, an attorney may practice law only in a jurisdiction in which the attorney has a license to practice law.

    However, depending on the rules of a particular jurisdiction/state, attorney without a license to practice law in that state may obtain permission to appear for specific cases in that state. The usual process is "pro hac vice" admission.

    Whether the court is federal or state may also be a consideration. A federal court has its own authority to allow attorneys to practice in that court. For example, a federal court in FL can allow an attorney licensed in NC but not in FL to appear in the FL federal court.

    If you believe an attorney is practicing law without a license, you may report that attorney to the agency that regulates attorney in either the state in which the attorney is licensed or the state in which the attorney is practicing without a license. Either agency will be interested and will investigate. If the agency finds that the attorney is practicing law without a license, the agency will discipline the attorney.

    Alternatively, you can review your facts and options with an attorney. You did not give very much information in your post.


  2. Generally, no. Whether someone gave legal advice is sometimes tricky to discern. A casual opinion about a legal issue is usually not objectionable. The danger is when someone who is not licensed to practice law in a state (a lawyer from another state, or even someone who isn't a lawyer at all) dispenses advice that others believe to be legitimate advice, especially if money or something else of value is given in exchange for the advice, and the recipient of that advice suffers some harm as a result.

    A good rule of thumb to remember: if this person does not possess a current Florida State Bar membership and license to practice law there, their advice is as good as the bartender's!

    The Florida Bar has a web site (http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/flabarwe.nsf) you can reference for further information. Notice on the left side of the home page there is a link for "Unlicensed Practice" issues.


  3. There is a small exception for immigration, social security, and veterans' cases since these are under federal jurisdiction. But if one opened an office and began seeing clients and held one's self out as an attorney - the state bar might get upset. The Florida State Bar has no doubt answered these questions before, go to the horse's mouth for the answer.

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