In a nod to the realities of modern legal
practice, a task force appointed by the Supreme Court recommended
relaxing restrictions on some out-of-state attorneys to practice
in California, but only to the extent that consumers of legal
services would benefit and be protected from harm.
The panel rejected outright such dramatic changes as the
creation of a national bar or reciprocity with other states which would permit
California lawyers to practice in their jurisdictions in return for the same
"The primary aims of the recommended changes," the
42-page report concludes, "are to reflect the realities of modern practice,
provide for oversight and promote the interests of consumers of legal
Calling the recommendations "incremental but quite significant,"
panel chair Raymond Marshall, a San Francisco attorney and former
president of the State Bar, said, "California has more lawyers
than any other state in the nation and probably has the largest
legal market in the country. That makes the issue of multijurisdictional
practice extremely important to California lawyers. To the extent
we are willing to open our practice to out of state lawyers,
that's a significant step."
Marshall said the courts, the legislature and attorneys
agree the status quo should change. "The degree of change may be subject to
debate," he said, "but there is uniform recognition that the current rules
don't hold up."
The 18-member Advisory Task Force on Multijurisdictional
Practice was appointed a year ago by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George
as the move toward so-called MJP gathered steam on a national level. For the
most part, attorneys can practice in California only after passing the bar
with the advent of the internet and other technological advances, the ease of
travel and the increasingly