FAQ: Pro Hac Vice Admission in California
The following are some common questions (and answers) about Pro Hac Vice Admission in California.
Q: Do you have to be a lawyer to be admitted pro hac vice?
A: Yes. Only attorneys who meet the qualifications are eligible for pro hac vice admission.
Non-lawyers cannot be admitted to represent clients or appear pro hac vice before California courts. However, individuals who are not lawyers can appear in court to represent themselves (but not other people)–this is called appearing pro se (i.e., “for yourself” or “on your own behalf”). You do not have to be a licensed attorney to appear pro se (but licensed attorneys are permitted to do so also).
Q: What is the cost of pro hac vice admission?
A: The fee is set by the State Bar of California.
Pursuant to California Rule of Court 9.40(e), the fee is not supposed to exceed $50, and the precise amount is set by the California Bar.
Q: Can California lawyers be admitted pro hac vice in California?
However, attorneys licensed to practice in California do not need pro hac vice admission. The California bar license authorizes them to represent clients before California courts.
Q: Do Certified Law Students require pro hac vice admission to appear in California courts?
A: Certified Law Students are governed by a separate set of rules, set forth in the California Rules of Court
(See: California Rules of Court, Rule 9.42, for the rules governing certified law students).
Q: Can a California settlement agreement include/require the payment of attorney fees to out-of-state lawyers who have not obtained pro hac vice admission?
A: A 2015 case says no.
In Golba v. Dick’s Sporting Goods (238 Cal. App. 4th 1251, 190 Cal. Rptr. 3d 337 (4th Dist. 2015)) the court ruled that the attorney fee provision of a settlement agreement was unenforceable to the extent it required the payment of fees for non-California attorneys who had not obtained pro hac vice admission.
Q: Does pro hac vice admission entitle a foreign lawyer to appear on his or her own in California court?
A: Even after obtaining pro hac vice admission, it is necessary for the foreign lawyer to associate with a licensed California attorney.*
A licensed California attorney must appear as “attorney of record” along with the foreign attorney. However, the foreign attorney who is admitted pro hac vice is permitted to prepare pleadings and other documents, and to appear in court, with the assistance of the California attorney of record.
*RossLaw serves as the California attorney of record for pro hac vice admissions in appropriate cases and circumstances. Please feel free to contact our office for more details.
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