Justices warn Indiana, out-of-state attorneys

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The Indiana Supreme Court has a warning for attorneys both inside and outside the state: comply with the rules for being admitted to practice here or else.

That “or else” component could mean more stringent discipline for Hoosier attorneys and potential unauthorized practice of law sanctions for those not properly admitted to practice in Indiana.

A per curiam opinion issues that caution today in the case In The Matter of Anonymous, No. 10S00-1006-DI-288, which comes out of Clark County and lodges a private reprimand against a Jeffersonville attorney for violating Professional Conduct Rule 5.5(a) by assisting in the unauthorized practice of law. Specifically, the sanction goes to the Indiana attorneys’ work on a case with a Kentucky attorney who didn’t comply with the state’s temporary admission rules.

The case stems from an incident where a Kentucky resident was injured in a fall at an Indiana restaurant, and that person hired a Kentucky attorney who later brought on a Jeffersonville attorney as local counsel. The out-of-state attorney didn’t seek temporary admission to practice in Indiana and both filed their appearances, though the Kentucky attorney subsequently signed and served answers to interrogatories and took depositions inside Indiana without the Jeffersonville attorney’s knowledge.

After the Kentucky attorney appeared in court for the client, the judge informed the Indiana attorney that his out-of-state colleague wasn’t admitted to practice here. The Hoosier lawyer told his colleague to seek temporary admission and gave him a copy of the applicable admission rule, but neither followed through with that process.

“The participation of Indiana co-counsel in the temporary admission process is of vital importance to this Court’s ability to supervise out-of-state attorneys practicing in this state,” the Supreme Court wrote. “This is no minor or perfunctory duty.”

Noting that not all attorneys seeking temporary admission will be granted that privilege, the justices said that rule compliance is very important and the in-state lawyers can be disciplined if those rules are ignored. But the court pointed out that too many attorneys are not following the rules. More than 600 notices for automatic exclusion for practice have gone out this year so far and the court has granted automatic exclusion relief to more than 140 out-of-state attorneys, the ruling states, noting that many are likely not practicing inside Indiana but hadn’t notified the Appellate Clerk’s Office that a case had concluded or they’d withdrawn.

“The need for this would be nearly eliminated if all Indiana co-counsel complied with their ethical duty to ensure that attorneys granted temporary admission in Indiana comply with Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2),” the court wrote, adding that all Indiana attorneys acting as local counsel for out-of-state lawyers have an ethical obligation to do so. “Indiana attorneys who neglect that duty in future cases may be subject to more stringent discipline, and out-of-state attorneys who fail to comply with this rule may be sanctioned for the unauthorized practice of law in this state.”


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues