Decades ago when the Rules of Professional Conduct were codified in Pennsylvania, we all went to offices in the jurisdiction where we served our clients. We were listed in the Yellow Pages; we read actual law books and we had paper files. The phones stopped ringing after 5 p.m. and we could get our work done. We interpreted Pennsylvania law in Pennsylvania matters and we did not worry about virtual offices or multi-jurisdictional practice or globalization.
Things have changed. Technology permeates our lives and is both a boon and a bane. It frees us to work anywhere, anytime—leading us to work everywhere, all the time. We go to the beach and bring our laptops; we go on vacation and carry our practices in our phones. While we may still be representing Pennsylvania clients in Pennsylvania matters, does it matter if we are not doing it in Pennsylvania? The use of remote work by attorneys has taken a quantum leap in the past year (for reasons we would rather not discuss!) and it has led to some salutary transformation of our understanding of the rule governing unauthorized practice of law, Pennsylvania Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5.
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