MultiJurisdictional Practice Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

1. What is MJP?

MJP refers to multijurisdictional practice. New California Rules of Court 9.45, 9.46, 9.47 and 9.48 permit certain categories of attorneys not licensed in California ("non-California attorneys") to practice here to a limited extent.

2. Which non-California attorneys are permitted to practice under the MJP rules?

Attorneys working for a qualified legal services provider and under the supervision of a California attorney working for the same provider (rule 9.45); attorneys working as in-house counsel for a qualifying institution (rule 9.46); attorneys practicing law temporarily in California as part of litigation (rule 9.47); and non-litigating attorneys temporarily in California to provide legal services (rule 9.48).

3. When did the MJP rules become effective?

Nov. 15, 2004.

4. What are the requirements for practicing as an MJP attorney?

An MJP attorney must be an active member in good standing of the bar of at least one U.S. state, jurisdiction, possession, territory or dependency. The other requirements vary depending on the category. Please refer to the appropriate rule of court and FAQ for additional information.

5. Do MJP attorneys have to register with the State Bar?

Legal services attorneys and in-house counsel must register with the State Bar and file an Application for Determination of Moral Character. Litigation and non-litigation attorneys eligible under rules 9.47 and 9.48 are not required to register. MJP registration applications are available online. The moral character application is available, but must be submitted with the MJP application, not separately.

6. Do MJP attorneys have a continuing education requirement?

Legal services attorneys and in-house counsel must comply with the same 25-hour MCLE requirement as members of the California bar within their first year of practice. The 25-hour requirement includes four hours of legal ethics, one hour of prevention, detection and treatment of substance abuse, and one hour of elimination of bias in the legal profession. Please refer to the appropriate rule of court and FAQ for additional information.

7. May a non-California attorney register as both a legal services attorney and in-house counsel?

Yes, if the attorney meets the eligibility requirements for each category.

8. Under 9.45, may a non-California attorney register to work with more than one qualifying public interest organization?

Legal services attorneys may only register to work with a single qualifying public interest organization.

9. Under 9.46, may a non-California attorney register to work with more than one qualifying institution?

In-House Counsel may only register to work with a single qualifying institution.

10. Will registered legal services attorneys or in-house counsel receive a certificate of registration?

Yes. They will receive a standard certificate once the registration process is complete.

11. Are attorneys licensed only in foreign countries eligible to practice under the MJP rules?

No. The only eligible attorneys are those who are active members in good standing of the bar of at least one U.S. state, territory, jurisdiction, possession or dependency.

12. What address should MJP attorneys use as their address of record for State Bar purposes?

The office address of the attorney's employer (qualifying institution for in-house counsel and legal services attorney) will be considered your address of record. If your current employer changes its address, you must submit a written notice to:

Office of Admissions (MJP)
The State Bar of California
845 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515

or

e-mail: mjp@calbar.ca.gov within 30 days of the change.

If your address change is due to new employment, you must submit a Change of Employment Form to the State Bar's Office of Special Admissions & Specialization.

MJP attorneys are not allowed to practice law with other institutions without registration by the State Bar.

Registered Legal Services Attorneys (Rule 9.45)

13. What is a Registered Legal Services Attorney? (Rule 9.45)

An attorney who is licensed to practice law in one or more U.S. jurisdictions other than California, relocates to California to work at a qualifying legal services provider and only on behalf of its clients, works under the supervision of an attorney employed by that provider, and is registered by the State Bar of California. See General Information FAQs for additional information.

14. How do I register as a legal services attorney?

Submit a registration application, which includes an Application for Determination of Moral Character, to the State Bar with the appropriate fees. MJP registration applications are available online. The moral character application is available, but must be submitted with the MJP application, not separately.

15. Do I have to take the California bar exam?

No. You must meet all of the requirements for admission to the California bar except that you do not need to take the bar exam or the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.

16. If I took and failed the California bar exam, does that affect my eligibility?

Yes. If you took and failed it within five years immediately preceding your application to register as a legal services attorney, you are not eligible for registration.

17. If I failed the California Bar Exam after my registration as a registered legal services attorney, would my status be affected?

No. If you have successfully registered as a legal services attorney, your status will not change if you thereafter fail the California Bar Exam.

18. If I have been disciplined by an attorney regulatory or other regulatory agency, does my disciplinary history affect my eligibility?

No. Notwithstanding a prior disciplinary history, if you are currently licensed and entitled to practice law, you may register as a legal services attorney. However, a record of discipline could lead to an adverse moral character determination depending on the nature of the circumstances leading to the imposition of discipline, the nature and amount of rehabilitation that has taken place, and the length of time since the events that led to discipline. For more information, go to www.calbar.ca.gov>Bar Exam>Moral Character.

19. Can I practice law while I wait for the results of the moral character application?

Yes

20. What is a qualifying legal services provider?

An entity that is either a California nonprofit corporation or a project of an accredited law school and that provides free legal services to indigent persons as its primary purpose and function. See rule 9.45 for details.

21. Who may act as my supervising attorney?

An active member in good standing of the California bar who has practiced law as a full-time occupation for at least four years, and has actively practiced law in California as a full-time occupation for at least the two years immediately preceding the time of supervision. See rule 9.45 for additional requirements.

22. Do I have to be a paid employee of the legal services provider in order to qualify?

No. You are eligible whether you are working with or without pay.

23. Do I have to comply with California's MCLE requirement?

Yes. Within the first 12 months after approval of your application for registration as a legal services attorney, you must complete the same 25 hours of MCLE activities that members of the California bar must complete in a 36-month period. The 25-hour requirement includes four hours of legal ethics, one hour of prevention, detection and treatment of substance abuse, and one hour of elimination of bias in the legal profession.

24. How long does my registration last?

You may practice as a registered legal services attorney for no more than a total of three years.

25. Do I need to identify myself in any particular way?

Yes. When providing legal services pursuant to rule 9.45, you must use the title Registered Legal Services Attorney. That title may not be used in connection with any other activities, and you may not in any way hold yourself out as a member of the State Bar of California.

26. What address should I use as my address of record for State Bar purposes?

The office address of the attorney's employer (qualifying institution for in-house counsel and legal services attorney) will be considered your address of record. If your current employer changes its address, you must submit a written notice to:

Office of Admissions (MJP)
The State Bar of California
845 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515

or

e-mail: mjp@calbar.ca.gov within 30 days of the change.

If your address change is due to new employment, you must submit an application for registration with the State Bar.

MJP attorneys are not allowed to practice law with other institutions without registration by the State Bar.

27. May I provide personal or individual representation to anyone other than through my employer?

No. You must practice law exclusively on behalf of the qualifying legal services provider (with the exception that you may practice simultaneously as registered in-house counsel).

28. Am I allowed to engage in all forms of legal practice that are permissible for a member of the State Bar of California?

Yes, as long as you are providing the services pursuant to rule 964 and are being supervised as required.

In-House Counsel (Rule 9.46)

29. What is Registered In-House Counsel? (Rule 9.46)

An attorney who is licensed to practice law in one or more U.S. jurisdictions other than California, resides in California, provides legal services as in-house counsel for a single qualifying institution in California, and is registered by the State Bar of California. See General Information FAQs for additional information.

30. How do I register as in-house counsel?

Submit a registration application, which includes an Application for Determination of Moral Character, to the State Bar with the appropriate fees. MJP registration applications are available online. The moral character application is available, but must be submitted with the MJP application, not separately.

31. Do I have to take the California bar exam?

No. You must meet all of the requirements for admission to the California bar except that you do not need to take the bar exam or the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.

32. If I have been disciplined by an attorney regulatory or other regulatory agency, does my disciplinary history affect my eligibility?

No. Notwithstanding a prior disciplinary history, if you are currently licensed and entitled to practice law, you may register as in-house counsel. However, a record of discipline could lead to an adverse moral character determination depending on the nature of the circumstances leading to the imposition of discipline, the nature and amount of rehabilitation that has taken place, and the length of time since the events that led to discipline. For more information, go to www.calbar.ca.gov>Bar Exam>Moral Character.

33. If I practiced as in-house counsel in California before the effective date of November 15, 2004, will my application for registration be denied?

No, that fact alone is not a ground for denial.

34. If I practice as in-house counsel in California at or after the effective date of November 15, 2004, will my application for registration be denied?

No, that fact alone is not a ground for denial.

35. Can I practice law while I wait for the results of the moral character application?

Yes.

36. What is a qualifying institution?

A corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity, including its subsidiaries and organizational affiliates, that employs at least 10 employees full-time in California, or employs in California an attorney who is an active member in good standing of the California bar.

37. Which institutions do not qualify under rule 9.46?

Governmental entities and entities that provide legal services to others do not qualify.

38. Do I have to comply with California's MCLE requirement?

Yes. Within the first 12 months after approval of your application for registration as an in-house counsel, you must complete the same 25 hours of MCLE activities that members of the California bar must complete in a 36-month period. The 25-hour requirement includes four hours of legal ethics, one hour of prevention, detection and treatment of substance abuse, and one hour of elimination of bias in the legal profession. After the first-year requirement, you will be assigned to a compliance group according to your last name and must continue to comply with the MCLE requirement by completing 25 hours of MCLE every three years.

39. How long does my registration last?

You may practice as registered in-house counsel as long as you remain eligible and your registration remains current.

40. Do I have to renew my registration?

Yes. You must renew your registration annually by filing the appropriate form and fees.

41. If I leave my employment, do I have to notify the State Bar?

Yes. You must notify the State Bar within 30 days.

42. What happens if I change employers?

You must submit a Change of Employment Form if you wish to continue to practice law in California as in-house counsel.

43. Do I need to identify myself in any particular way?

Yes. When providing legal services pursuant to rule 9.46, you must use the title "Registered In-House Counsel." That title may not be used in connection with any other activities, and you may not in any way hold yourself out as a member of the State Bar of California.

44. What address should I use as my address of record for State Bar purposes?

The office address of the attorney's employer (qualifying institution for in-house counsel and legal services attorney) will be considered your address of record. If your current employer changes its address, you must submit a written notice to:

Office of Admissions (MJP)
845 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515

or

e-mail: mjp@calbar.ca.gov within 30 days of the change.

If your address change is due to new employment, you must submit a Change of Employment Form to the State Bar.

MJP attorneys are not allowed to practice law with other institutions without registration by the State Bar.

45. May I provide personal or individual representation to anyone other than through my employer?

No. You may provide legal services only to your employer. You are not permitted to provide personal or individual representation to any customers, shareholders, owners, partners, officers, employees, servants, or agents of your employer.

46. Am I allowed to make court appearances in California?

No. You are not permitted to make court appearances in California state courts or engage in any other activities for which pro hac vice admission is required. The only exception is if you are also registered as a legal services attorney and provide legal services in accordance with that rule.

Litigating Attorneys (Rule 9.47)

47. Who qualifies as a litigating attorney under rule 9.47?

An attorney licensed to practice law in one or more U.S. jurisdictions other than California who is providing litigation services in California as part of legal proceedings pending or anticipated either in California or another jurisdiction. See General Information FAQs for additional information.

48. What constitutes a formal legal proceeding?

A formal legal proceeding refers to litigation, arbitration, mediation, or a legal action before an administrative decision-maker.

49. If I am eligible to practice in California under rule 9.47, am I allowed to appear in court in California?

No. Rule 9.47 applies only to litigation services in connection with litigation pending or anticipated either in California or another jurisdiction. If your anticipated authorization to appear in a formal legal proceeding serves as the basis for practice under rule 9.47, you must seek that authorization promptly once it becomes possible to do so. Failure to seek authorization promptly, or denial of that authorization, ends your eligibility to practice under rule 9.47.

50. Am I allowed to maintain an office in California for the practice of law?

No. You are not allowed to establish or maintain a resident office or other continuous presence in California for the practice of law. You must maintain an office in a U.S. jurisdiction other than California in which you are licensed. (Rule 9.47 & 9.48) [link BROKEN]

51. Am I eligible if I am a California resident?

No. (Rule 9.47 & 9.48)

52. Am I eligible if I am regularly employed, or regularly engage in substantial business or professional activities, in California?

No. (Rule 9.47 & 9.48)

53. Am I eligible if I have resigned with charges pending, or been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in any other jurisdiction?

No.

54. Do I already have to be retained by a client in the matter for which I am providing legal services in California?

Yes.

55. Are there any special advertising requirements?

Yes. You must indicate on any advertising accessible in California (including internet ads) either that you are not a California bar member or that you are admitted to practice only in the states listed in your advertising.

Non-Litigating Attorneys (Rule 9.48)

56. Who qualifies as a non-litigating attorney under rule 9.48?

An attorney licensed to practice law in one or more U.S. jurisdictions other than California who is providing legal assistance or legal advice concerning a transaction or other non-litigation matter, a material aspect of which takes place in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is licensed, or on an issue of federal law or the law of a jurisdiction other than California. See General Information FAQs for additional information.

57. What constitutes a transaction or other non-litigation matter?

A transaction or other non-litigation matter refers to any legal matter other than litigation, arbitration, mediation, or a legal action before an administrative decision-maker.

58. Am I allowed to maintain an office in California for the practice of law?

No. You are not allowed to establish or maintain a resident office or other continuous presence in California for the practice of law. You must maintain an office in a U.S. jurisdiction other than California in which you are licensed. (Rule 9.47 & 9.48)

59. Am I eligible if I am a California resident?

No. (Rule 9.47 & 9.48)

60. Am I eligible if I am regularly employed, or regularly engage in substantial business or professional activities, in California?

No. (Rule 9.47 & 9.48)

61. Am I eligible if I have resigned with charges pending, or been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in any other jurisdiction?

No.

62. Do I already have to be retained by a client in the matter for which I am providing legal services in California?

Yes.

63. Are there any special advertising requirements?

Yes. You must indicate on any advertising accessible in California (including internet ads) either that you are not a California bar member or that you are admitted to practice only in the states listed in your advertising.

Annual Renewal Information

64. How do I renew my registration?

The annual renewal packet is available on-line under Forms. The initial MCLE compliance card is included in the renewal packet.

65. What happens if I don't submit my annual renewal on time? (Due Feb. 1)

Your registration will be cancelled and will not be permitted to practice law in California as a registered in-house counsel or as a registered legal services attorney.

66. How can I get a hard copy of the renewal packet?

Renewal packets are available by calling the Office of Special Admissions and Specialization at 213-765-1519 or by sending an e-mail to mjp@calbar.ca.gov.

67. How do I report a new employer?

The Change of Employment Form is available on-line under Forms.

68. Will I receive a receipt following my renewal?

An MJP registration card will be sent to you following payment of fees, submission of a current certificate of standing (included with the annual renewal) and if applicable, proof of initial MCLE compliance.