Future Law

Loosening Restrictions for Out of State Lawyers

out of state lawyersLast week, word broke that Florida may be the next state to allow out of state lawyers the right to practice without taking the state’s Bar exam.

Since the announcement was made, many Florida lawyers have expressed a great deal of negativity towards the idea with the high volume of lawyers already practicing in the state (upwards of 100,000 licensed attorneys and hundreds more joining the practice in the state every year).

On Tuesday, Florida Bar President Ramón Abadin released a statement reiterating that no action was taken by the Bar’s Board of Governors regarding a proposal to allow out-of-state lawyers to practice in Florida without taking the Bar exam. The editorial states, “The state grows enough lawyers organically — so many that new law school graduates struggle to find jobs — and the Bar should continue to jealously guard entry requirements.”

This Friday, the Bar’s governing board will discuss the option of reciprocity, which would allow out of state lawyers the right to practice without taking the state’s exam if said lawyer has actively served for five of the last seven years and is in good standing.

In addition to this, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, the proposal also states, “Under certain circumstances, lawyers not licensed in Florida can appear in court with a judge’s approval, [however,] they are limited to three cases in a 365-day period, a rule intended to keep out of state lawyers from setting up de facto Florida practices”.

Florida isn’t the first state to consider these types of allowances for out of state lawyers. Earlier this year, both New York and New Jersey announced their intentions of making adjustments to their state laws, loosening up the restrictions significantly.

Only time will tell what Florida decides is suitable for their state. It just goes to show that as times are changing, state lines are blurring and the future of the legal profession will never be the same.

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