Pro Hac Vice in North Carolina and the EDNC

by de Ondarza Simmons, PLLC on May 13, 2011

Different Pro Hac Vice Rules for Wake County State Court and the EDNC

North Carolina State Court, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina

Fighting a business or real estate dispute away from home can be difficult. If you are a lawyer or law firm whose client has been sued in state or federal court in Wake County, you will likely need to be specially admitted and required to associate local counsel.  The North Carolina state statute and regulation governing pro hac vice practice and the corresponding local federal rule are set out below.

Pro Hac Vice in North Carolina State Court

N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-4.1 governs the practice of law by out-of-state-attorneys in North Carolina state court.  It provides as follows:

Any attorney domiciled in another state, and regularly admitted to practice in the courts of record of and in good standing in that state, having been retained as attorney for a party to any civil or criminal legal proceeding pending in the General Court of Justice of North Carolina, the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the Office of Administrative Hearings of North Carolina, or any administrative agency, may, on motion, be admitted to practice in that forum for the sole purpose of appearing for a client in the proceeding. The motion required under this section shall be signed by the attorney and shall contain or be accompanied by:

(1) The attorney’s full name, post-office address, bar membership number, and status as a practicing attorney in another state.

(2) A statement, signed by the client, setting forth the client’s address and declaring that the client has retained the attorney to represent the client in the proceeding.

(3) A statement that unless permitted to withdraw sooner by order of the court, the attorney will continue to represent the client in the proceeding until its final determination, and that with reference to all matters incident to the proceeding, the attorney agrees to be subject to the orders and amenable to the disciplinary action and the civil jurisdiction of the General Court of Justice and the North Carolina State Bar in all respects as if the attorney were a regularly admitted and licensed member of the Bar of North Carolina in good standing.

(4) A statement that the state in which the attorney is regularly admitted to practice grants like privileges to members of the Bar of North Carolina in good standing.

(5) A statement to the effect that the attorney has associated and is personally appearing in the proceeding, with an attorney who is a resident of this State, has agreed to be responsible for filing a registration statement with the North Carolina State Bar, and is duly and legally admitted to practice in the General Court of Justice of North Carolina, upon whom service may be had in all matters connected with the legal proceedings, or any disciplinary matter, with the same effect as if personally made on the foreign attorney within this State.

(6) A statement accurately disclosing a record of all that attorney’s disciplinary history. Discipline shall include (i) public discipline by any court or lawyer regulatory organization, and (ii) revocation of any pro hac vice admission.

(7) A fee in the amount of two hundred twenty-five dollars ($225.00), of which two hundred dollars ($200.00) shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for support of the General Court of Justice and twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall be transmitted to the North Carolina State Bar to regulate the practice of out-of-state attorneys as provided in this section.

Compliance with the foregoing requirements does not deprive the court of the discretionary power to allow or reject the application.

(For Westlaw subscribers, here is the Westlaw link to the statute.)

In addition, 27 NCAC 01H .0101 requires that the associated North Carolina Bar member file the registration required by N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-4.1(5) with the North Carolina State Bar Secretary

“within 30 days of the court’s order admitting the admittee upon a form approved by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar.”

Otherwise, the North Carolina Bar Member may be suspended from practicing law.  The Bar’s approved form is entitled, “Pro Hac Vice Admission Registration Statement“.

There are additional rules and registration requirements for pro hac vice appearances before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court, even if an out-of-state attorney was already admitted pro hac vice by the trial court.

Special Appearance Attorney and Local Rule 83.1 Local Counsel in the Eastern District of North Carolina

Local Civil Rule 83.1 governs which attorneys may practice before the EDNC. Under the rule, North Carolina State Bar Members in good standing are eligible for admission to the EDNC and may be sworn in to practice once they meet certain additional requirements set out in the rule.

In addition, Local Rule 83.1(e) governs “special appearance attorneys” or out-of-state attorneys (i.e., those not  admitted to the EDNC).  Subsection (e) reads as follows:

(1) Attorneys who are members in good standing of the bar of a United States District Court and the bar of the highest court of any state or the District of Columbia may practice in this court for a particular case in association with a member of the bar of this court. By filing a Notice of Appearance, completing an Electronic Filing Attorney Registration Form, and complying with Section J.(1) of the Policy Manual, an attorney agrees that:

(a) the special appearance attorney will be responsible for ensuring the presence of an attorney who is familiar with the case and has authority to control the litigation at all conferences, hearings, trials and other proceedings;

(b) the attorney submits to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the court for any misconduct in connection with the litigation in which the attorney is specially appearing; and

(c) for purposes of FED. R. CIV. P. 11, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Civil Rules of this court, the special appearance attorney’s electronic signature shall carry the same force and effect as an original signature.

(2) An attorney who is not a member of the bar of this court will not receive electronic notification until the attorney becomes a registered CM/ECF filer with this court and files a Notice of Appearance.

(3) A member of the bar of this court who accepts employment in association with a special appearance attorney is responsible to this court for the conduct of the litigation of the proceeding, must be a CM/ECF registrant and shall review for submission by the special appearance attorney all pleadings and papers electronically filed in compliance with Section J.(1) of the Policy Manual. The responsibility of the member of the bar who accepts employment in association with a special appearance attorney and designates him or herself as Local Civil Rule 83.1 local counsel shall be governed by Local Civil Rule 83.1(d).

(4) Any document filed by a special appearance attorney that does not comport with associated Local Civil Rule 83.1 counsel’s standards may be objected to. Any such objection must be filed within seven (7) days of the issuance of the NEF for the document.

Local Civil Rule 83.1(d) sets out the signature requirements for all documents filed with the EDNC, including those filed by special appearance attorneys and Local Rule 83.1 Local Counsel.  This subsection also explains the application of Rule 11 in special appearance attorney cases:

Litigants in civil actions, except governmental agencies and parties appearing pro se, must be represented by at least one member of the bar of this court who shall sign all documents filed in this court, including his or her state bar number and fax number in the signature block on all pleadings. If an attorney appears solely to bring the litigant in compliance with this local rule, he or she shall in each instance designate himself or herself “Local Civil Rule 83.1 Counsel.” In signing the pleading, motion, discovery request or other document, counsel certifies that he is an authorized representative for communication with the court about the litigation, and the document conforms to the practice and procedure of this court. However, counsel does not make the certification required by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Nevertheless, the requirements of Rule 11 must be complied with by out-of-state counsel. Signatures in the following form shall be sufficient to comply with this local rule. Local Civil Rule 83.1 Local Counsel must include state bar number and fax number in the signature block on all pleadings:

Jane M. Jones
Attorney for Defendant
Jones, Jones and Jones
P.O. Box 500
New York, NY 10050
(212) 555-1212
State Bar No.

John B. Counselor
Attorney for Defendant
Abbott, Ball and Counselor
P.O. Box 50 Raleigh, NC 27602
(919) 878-8787
Fax (919) 878-8000
State Bar No.
Local Civil Rule 83.1 Counsel

In addition to sections (d) and (e), Local Civil Rule 83.1 also contains other requirements for all lawyers , including admitted attorneys, Local Civil Rule 83.1 local counsel, and specially admitted attorneys.  You should consult it carefully.

Raleigh Local Counsel Available for Association

Local Rule 83.1 Local Counsel

Ms. de Ondarza Simmons is admitted to practice before the North Carolina State Courts as well as the United States District Court for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. She is available for association to enable you to appear as pro hac vice attorney in North Carolina state court and also as special appearance attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina.  If she can help you help your client, please click the Contact Us page and call or send us an email.

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