If later this year you bump into an international lawyer, whom a Texas state judge has allowed to enter a court appearance and serve as counsel of record, alongside a Texas lawyer, thank Larry Pascal.
A Haynes and Boone partner, Pascal chaired a task force appointed four years ago by the Texas Supreme Court to refine the rules for international lawyers in this state. Pascal’s task force gave the court recommendations that led the judges to issue a June 11 order proposing streamlined international law practice rules in Texas that would take effect on Oct 1.
With the order, the court tentatively adopted new rules that will allow state judges, for the first time, to give permission for foreign lawyers to appear— beside local counsel—in a Texas court as a counsel of record. Also, under the new proposed rules, lawyers licensed in civil law countries will be eligible to sit for the Texas Bar by completing an LLM from an American Bar Association-approved law school and, among other things, passing a character and fitness test.
Pascal said Texas now will be “competitive with California and New York” in terms of its openness to foreign lawyers.
The new rules will also make it easier for Texas companies to hire experienced corporate counsel for their in-house needs related to their international expansion or operations. About 40 such foreign lawyers are registered in the state at present, Pascal said.
This summer, the public has an opportunity to comment from July 1 through Aug. 31 on the proposed changes in the order; the state’s high court may then modify its order based on those comments. But Pascal expects the new rules to become effective Oct. 1, largely as his task force proposed them.
“I’m cautiously upbeat,” Pascal said.