Federalism presents numerous positive aspects. But if you’re an attorney who must reach across state lines to resolve a case, our federal system does not exactly roll out the welcome mat. If you’re not licensed to practice law in another state, you can seek temporary admission, i.e. pro hac vice, but the requirements are often daunting and you must travel to the other state and conduct the business yourself in coordination with an attorney licensed in that state. You might take such extraordinary steps if you plan to try the case from the beginning, but if you merely need to domesticate a judgment from another state, a pro hac vice application may not be worth the hassle. Your best option is to find a local attorney to provide Of Counsel services.
The classic example is a lawsuit in your home state against a company that does business in your state but has its home elsewhere. For convenience and whatever home court advantage you can realize, you sue the foreign company in your state. You win a judgment, but, unsurprisingly, the defendant refuses to pay. You consider collection actions but discover the defendant company has insufficient assets in your state to cover the judgment. The company assets, at least those that haven’t been completely offshored, reside in the company’s home state, where you do not hold a license.
This scenario can play out in virtually any kind of lawsuit: personal injury, product defect, breach of contract, construction, securities, or a dispute over insurance coverage. The defendant either resides in another state or deliberately moves assets across state lines to put them outside the reach of your court judgment. The good news, of course, is that courts in foreign states must to give “full faith and credit” to judgments from your state. You simply need someone who can make an appearance on your behalf, without getting stopped on the courthouse steps.
Local Of Counsel services allow you to partner with an attorney certified in the defendant’s home state. You’ve driven the ball down to the three-yard line; Of Counsel runs it into the end zone. You can confer by phone and wrap up your case without a complicated application or any need to travel.