General Counsel on www.OKbar.org

Out-of-State Attorneys Reminded to Register

By Gina Hendryx, General Counsel

Oklahoma, like the majority of jurisdictions, requires out-of-state attorneys who wish to practice in a state tribunal to register with the Oklahoma Bar Association. The chart above depicts the number of out-of-state attorneys who have done so for the past three years. In 2011, 557 new applications were received from out-of-state attorneys seeking to practice before an Oklahoma tribunal. This was slightly down from 2010, but nearly the same for 2009. Furthermore, renewals steadily increased over the three-year span.

The registration requirements can be found in the Rules Creating and Controlling the Oklahoma Bar Association, 5 O.S. Ch.1, App. 1, Art. II. The rules state that the attorney may appear in an action or proceeding only upon:

  1. Registering with the Oklahoma Bar Association; and,
  2. The approval of the court, arbitrator, mediator, or administrative or governmental hearing officer where the action or proceeding is pending.

The procedure for registering includes:

  1. The out-of-state attorney submits the original and one copy of a completed and signed application to the OBA. The application form, along with detailed instructions, can be found here.
  2. Along with the completed form, the attorney should submit current certificates of good standing from the clerk of the Supreme Court or highest admitting court in which the applicant is licensed to practice law.
  3. A registration fee of $350 payable to the OBA is due at the time the application is submitted.

Upon receipt of the application, certificates of good standing, and the fee payment, the OBA will review and issue a “Certificate of Compliance.” This certificate is then included as an exhibit to a motion to admit or pro hac vice motion to the appropriate tribunal. All out-of-state attorneys appearing before an Oklahoma tribunal must associate local counsel. It is then up to the presiding judge or officer whether to allow the out-of-state attorney to appear at hearings without the local counsel in attendance.

An Oklahoma court may temporarily admit an out-of-state attorney on a showing of good cause for noncompliance with the provisions of the rule. However, this temporary admission may be for no longer than 10 days, and the attorney must comply with the registration requirements.

If the matter remains pending, an annual renewal fee of $350 is payable to the OBA on the anniversary date of the verified application. Failure to renew may result in the imposition of a $100 late fee. Forms for renewal along with a full description of the requirements and text of the rule may be found at www.okbar.org/s/avc4p.

These requirements apply to matters pending before Oklahoma state courts or tribunals. They do not apply to matters pending in the federal courts. If you have questions about this rule or need assistance in getting an out-of-state attorney registered, contact Ben Douglas at bend@okbar.org or 405-416-7062.

Ms. Hendryx is OBA general counsel.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- Aug. 11, 2012 -- Vol. 83, No. 20