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Just as the New Jersey State Bar Association is fulminating over a proposal to liberalize multijurisdictional practice, the state supreme court’s Ad Hoc Committee on Bar Admissions is about to recommend that out-of-state attorneys be admitted on motion to practice in New Jersey. As outlined by committee member Allen Etish on May 22 at the State Bar’s annual meeting in Atlantic City, the proposal would allow admission on motion for attorneys who are free of ethics entanglements and who have not failed the New Jersey bar exam for five years before the motion is made. Although the State Bar is holding off on responding to the proposal until the formal report is issued, probably later this month, the organization’s historic antipathy to paving the way for out-of-state lawyers is likely to resurface. The 22-member committee, chaired by Appellate Division Judge John Wallace Jr., would be the second court panel recently to recommend loosening New Jersey’s barriers to foreign infiltration. The Commission on the Rules of Professional Conduct chaired by former Justice Stewart Pollock, suggests that RPC 5.5 — the rule against unauthorized practice of law — be altered to create “safe harbors” for non-New Jersey lawyers. Such safe harbors would include pro hac vice admission and cross-state practice where a matter is “reasonably related” to a representation in the other state. The Pollock commission did not deal with admission on motion, but on May 15, an American Bar Association panel studying multijurisdictional practice issued a report proposing among other things a “Model Rule on Admission by Motion.” That rule, which now heads to the ABA House of Delegates for approval, bears a strong resemblance to the one that received a favorable hearing from the Wallace panel. It suggests that border-crossing lawyers: � Be admitted to practice law in another state. � Hold a degree from an ABA-approved law school. � Be engaged primarily in the practice of law for five of the past seven years. � Pass the local Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. � Have no looming ethics charges. � Have not failed the bar exam in the past five years. Taken together with the Pollock proposals, the two sets of rules would expose New Jersey’s attorneys to increased competition from lawyers in New York and Philadelphia. While the State Bar has not yet taken a position on admission on motion, it has vociferously opposed the Pollock recommendations. At a hearing on May 22, outgoing President Daniel Waldman and Frederick Dennehy, chairman of the Bar’s Professional Responsibility Committee, both testified against liberalizing strictures on out-of-state lawyers. State Bar President Richard Badolato, a partner at Connell Foley in Roseland, says the organization would not take a position on the Wallace panel’s recommendations until it received a copy of its report. The report is likely due in late June or July, according to state supreme court clerk Stephen Townsend. “They’ll either try to get it in before the court rises for the summer or they will file it in the fall,” he says, adding though that the panel is on schedule for the earlier date. Townsend and Etish note the possibility that the two panels could produce recommendations that contradict each the other. Townsend says, “There were a number of issues that the court had come before it [such as] [p]etitions for relaxation of the rules, specifically foreign-educated attorneys seeking leave to take the bar examination. And when the court looked at that, they looked at the topic globally and came up with the issues that the Wallace committee is dealing with.” ABA panel chairman Wayne Positan, of Roseland, N.J.’s Lum, Danzis, Drasco, Positan & Kleinberg, said at the State Bar meeting that he thought admission on motion would make very little difference to most lawyers. He noted that he had been admitted in New York through that route but had made relatively few forays into the city since. Etish, of Cherry Hill, N.J.’s Kenney & Kearney, who is chairman of the State Bar’s committee on multijurisdictional practice in addition to sitting on the Wallace committee, says he is “warming” to the idea of admission on motion.

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