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IBA: Pro Hac Vice Reporting Deadline Rapidly Approaching

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By, Kevin McGoff & Meg Christensen, Bingham McHale, LLP
 

McGoff Kevin McGoff
christensen-margaret-mug Christensen

As 2011 dawns, with the year end accounting done and the pie generously sliced, it is time to ramp up for another year. Many attorneys pause to take a breath, having just completed the 2010 CLE requirements with a New Year’s Eve video marathon. So long as the Supreme Court dues are paid, it is time to go back to practicing law and leave the pesky administrative tasks till the end of summer. However, there is one more obligation lurking during the month of January for those Indiana lawyers serving as co-counsel with out of state attorneys. They must ensure the out of state attorneys renew their pro hac vice admissions. Failure to do so has potentially disastrous consequences for the Hoosier practitioner.

Indiana Rule of Admission and Discipline 3, Section 2(a)(c) requires renewal of temporary admissions as follows:

If an attorney continues to appear on the basis of a temporary admission in any case pending as of the first day of a new calendar year, the attorney shall pay a renewal fee equal to the annual registration fee set out in Admission and Discipline Rule 2(b). This renewal fee shall be due within thirty (30) days of the start of that calendar year and shall be tendered to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, accompanied by a copy of the Notice of Temporary Admission for each continuing proceeding in which a court has granted permission to appear.

Out of state attorneys who fail to properly renew their temporary admissions “shall” be automatically excluded from practice in Indiana pursuant to the Rule until the default is corrected. Moreover, the Rule requires the “[i]f the proceeding has concluded or if the attorney has withdrawn his or her appearance, the attorney must so notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court by the deadline for renewal of registration.”

In addition to being jointly responsible for all briefs, papers, and pleadings filed in cases litigated along with their out of state counterparts, Ind. R. Admis. Disc. (3), Sec. 2(d); In re Wilkins, 782 N.E.2d 985, 987 (Ind. 2003), wherein Indiana counsel was sanctioned for content of brief drafted by out of state attorney, Indiana attorneys serving as local co-counsel also bear responsibility to ensure out of state counsel fulfill Indiana’s rules governing temporary admissions. Do not leave compliance to the out of state lawyer.

The Indiana Supreme Court recently issued a private reprimand to an Indiana attorney for assisting in the unauthorized practice of law when he filed an appearance with a Kentucky attorney who was not properly admitted in this state. The non-admitted Kentucky attorney appeared in court and took depositions. In re Anonymous, 932 N.E.2d 1247, 1249-1250 (Ind. 2010). The Court explained in its September 3, 2010 opinion that “[t]he failure of out-of-state attorneys and their Indiana co-counsel to comply with the rule governing temporary admission is neither trivial nor rare.” Id. at 1250. Last year, over 600 notices of automatic exclusion from practice were issued. According to Paula Cardoza, Staff Attorney for the Division of the Supreme Court Administration, 187 attorneys sought relief from automatic exclusion in 2010. The Court stated in Anonymous that “[t]he 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).” Id.

The attorney sanctioned received a private reprimand, but was also required to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding. With respect to the sanction imposed, the Court warned that a private reprimand was appropriate “under the circumstances of this case. However, Indiana attorneys serving as local counsel for out-of-state attorneys are hereby advised of the importance of their duty to ensure complete and timely compliance with all the requirements of Admission and Discipline Rule 3(2). 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.” Id. at 1250. Lawyers working with attorneys not licensed in this jurisdiction need to be aware of, and meticulously follow the pro hac vice rules.

According to, Darla Little, the Roll of Attorneys Administrator, on December 1, 2010, the Indiana Roll of Attorneys sent 1,468 reminders to out of state attorneys to renew their admissions. Indiana co-counsel does not receive copies of these reminders. In light of the consequences for failing to ensure compliance with Admission and Discipline Rule 3, Section 2, Indiana attorneys should review the Rule’s requirements and ensure compliance by any out of state co-counsel. This is also a good time to verify and ensure that any out of state co-counsel who withdrew from a case in 2010, or whose Indiana litigation concluded in 2010 have reported those facts to the Clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court in order to avoid an automatic exclusion from future practice in this state.

Indiana Attorneys can now pay their annual licensing fees and/or change their contact information with the Roll of Attorneys online at: http://hats2.courts.state.in.us/att_web_06/att_inp.jsp, but out of state attorneys must send their notices and submit their registration fees the old fashioned way. Out of state attorneys should send a letter referencing their temporary admission numbers, listing all cases and cause numbers in which they have appearances on file, attaching the applicable Notice of Temporary Admission, and enclosing a check for $130.00 to:

Attn. Darla Little

Clerk of the Supreme CourtRecords Division

Roll of Attorneys

402 West WashingtonRoom W062

Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

With respect to cases which have concluded or from which an out of state attorney has withdrawn, the letter should simply advise the Clerk of the attorney’s temporary admission number, the case name and cause number under which he or she was admitted, and some documentary evidence of the conclusion of the case or the attorney’s withdrawal.

The rules governing the administration of pro hac vice admissions have been revised over the years. Although compliance is relatively easy, this deadline does not get logged on every To Do List. Take a moment and review your list of cases to be sure you – and the out of state counsel relying upon your knowledge and experience in Indiana law and procedure – pay the fees and file the requisite paperwork.•

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