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American Bar Association offices in Washington, DC. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi

On Dec. 16, 2020, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility published an ethics opinion that blesses the work arrangements that many lawyers have set up since the COVID-19 pandemic forced lawyers across the country to work remotely. ABA Opinion 495 states that, under certain circumstances, lawyers may remotely practice law while they are physically located in jurisdictions in which they are not licensed.

The opinion impacts not only lawyers who have chosen to relocate during the pandemic—for example, a New York-licensed attorney who has relocated to sunny Florida to ride out the pandemic—but also lawyers living in border communities—for example, lawyers who are licensed and work in Washington, D.C., but are working from home in Virginia and Maryland.

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