Foreign Legal Consultant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is a registered foreign legal consultant?
A Registered Foreign Legal Consultant is admitted to practice and is in good standing as an attorney or counselor at law (or the equivalent) in a foreign country and has a current State Bar Certificate of Registration as a Foreign Legal Consultant. A Registered Foreign Legal Consultant may practice the law of his or her country in California but may not practice California law. Please see California Rule of Court 9.44 and Registered Foreign Legal Consultant Rules.
2. What are the requirements to register as a Foreign Legal Consultant?
An applicant must:
- have been admitted to practice law and have been in good standing as an attorney or counselor at law or equivalent in a foreign country for at least four of the six years immediately preceding the application, and have actually practiced the law of that country;
- possess good moral character (moral character review is conducted by the Office of Admissions in the same manner as for California bar applicants); and
- provide the Office of Special Admissions and Specialization with a written statement agreeing to maintain required security for claims for errors and omissions and dishonest conduct.
3. How do I get an application?
Go to Forms and print the Application, Instructions and Application for Determination of Moral Character. You may also call or write The State Bar of California, Office of Special Admissions and Specialization, 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, 415-538-2100, firstname.lastname@example.org and request a Foreign Legal Consultant application packet. Complete and submit the application along with an application fee of $370 U.S. dollars to the above address. A completed Application for Determination of Moral Character, which is included in the packet, must be submitted with the FLC Application.
4. What is the application fee?
$370 U.S. dollars
5. How long does it take to process the application?
Each file is handled individually. Processing time depends on whether or not we receive complete information. The first part of the process is handled by the Office of Special Admissions and Specialization; the Moral Character review is handled by the Office of Admissions. Generally, review of the Moral Character application takes four to six months.
6. How do I satisfy security for claims?
See Rule 6 of the State Bar Registered Foreign Legal Consultant Rules and Regulations for the specific requirements.
7. How do I satisfy my requirement to submit a Certificate of Standing?
You must submit a certificate from the authority in the foreign country having final jurisdiction over professional discipline certifying:
- it is the entity having jurisdiction over professional discipline matters;
- applicant’s date of admission; and
- for at least four of the past six years, the applicant has been in good standing as an attorney or counselor at law or the equivalent.
8. Do these documents have to be in English?
All documents not in English must be accompanied by a duly authenticated English translation. The documents must be translated by someone other than the applicant.
9. What legal services can I provide?
Your legal services are limited to providing legal advice in the law of the country in which you are licensed to practice law.
10. What am I not permitted to do as a Foreign Legal Consultant?
- appear for a person other than yourself as attorney in any court, or before any magistrate or other judicial officer, in this state or prepare pleadings or any other papers or issue subpoenas in any action or proceeding brought in any court or before any judicial officer;
- prepare any deed, mortgage, assignment, discharge, lease or any other instrument affecting title to real estate located in the United States;
- prepare any will or trust instrument affecting the disposition on death of any property located in the United States and owned by a resident or any instrument relating to the administration of a decedent’s estate in the United States;
- prepare any instrument in the respect of the marital relations, rights or duties of a resident of the United States or the custody or care of the children of a resident; or
- otherwise render professional legal advice on the law of the State of California, any other state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the United States or any country other than the country in which you are admitted to practice law, whether rendered incident to preparation of legal instruments or otherwise.
11. Am I required to file an annual report?
Yes, you must file an annual report along with:
- the annual renewal fee;
- current certificate(s) of good standing; and
- other (provided) forms once you have been a Registered Foreign Legal Consultant for at least a year.
12. What if my information changes before an annual report is due?
You must notify the State Bar of any changes in your status in any jurisdiction where you are admitted to practice or of discipline with respect to such admission.
13. How do I find out more information about FLC?
- Read the Foreign Legal Consultant Program brochure.
- Write to The State Bar of California, Office of Special Admissions and Specialization, 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, California, 94105.
- E-mail email@example.com.
- Contact the Office of Special Admissions and Specialization at 415-538-2100.