MSC mulls rules to regulate temporary bar admissions

If out-of-state attorneys not admitted to the State Bar of Michigan file appearances on your clients’ behalf, and especially if you have a favorite or two with whom you associate on a regular basis, then sit up and pay attention.

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering some rule changes that would limit temporary admissions to the bar (pro hac vice appearances) to three cases in a 365-day period.

It’ll cost $135 for each appearance. There’s a fair amount of paperwork that will go along with it. And attorneys seeking permission to appear under a temporary admission automatically consent to the jurisdiction of Michigan’s attorney discipline system.

In fact, the Attorney Grievance Commission would be the clearinghouse for all temporary admissions and would pocket the appearance fee, which is equal to the amount Michigan attorneys pay each year to fund the discipline system and the client protection fund.

The genesis for all of this was a State Bar of Michigan proposal floated in November 2006. Bar heavyweights were concerned that pro hac vice was a convenient way to get around having to formally apply for admission, and pay dues, to the State Bar of Michigan. The bar was apparently willing to tolerate three pro hac vice appearances in a year before insisting on formal admission.

The bar’s proposal received a public hearing and then died a quiet death. One big sticking point with some of the justices was language in the bar’s proposal that seemingly would have held a Michigan attorney responsible for any mischief by the out-of-state attorney. Any such notion is conspicuous in its absence under the MSC’s version.

The court is taking comments on the new proposal until April 1. Send them to Corbin Davis, Supreme Court Clerk in writing or electronically by April 1, 2008, at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909, or Refer to ADM File No. 2004-08. And post a copy as a comment to this blog, while you’re at it.

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