You may have gotten in a car accident in Nevada, but since you live in California, you might want to use a lawyer closer to home. Maybe you suffered a slip-and-fall accident in New York, but you want to be represented by a lawyer in Florida. Is this possible? Can you use an attorney from a different state?
Not necessarily. A lawyer’s areas of practice cannot cross state lines unless they are licensed to practice in multiple states. Lawyers are licensed by a state agency in each state, so their practice is limited to states in which they have passed the bar exam. To see if a lawyer is licensed in your state, you can search for their name on the American Bar Association website.
It is illegal and considered a serious violation for non-lawyers to act as lawyers or for lawyers to attempt to practice law in states where they are not licensed. There are two main exceptions:
- Lawyers are allowed to provide services in another state if they will not be going to courts, such as arbitration and mediation.
- Out-of-state lawyers can also represent clients in another state if they will be working with a local lawyer. This is allowed under the “pro hac vice” process.
What to Consider Before Choosing an Out-of-State Attorney
If you do decide to choose an attorney from another state to represent you, there are several things to consider:
- Costs. When it comes to the cost of hiring an attorney, location is a huge factor. Attorneys in states such as California, New York, and Florida will charge more than lawyers in states such as Kansas or Iowa. Plus, some lawyers operate differently. While many work on contingency, others utilize flat fees, retainer fees, and hourly fees.
- Familiarity with the law. Sometimes it is better to work with both a local lawyer and a subject matter expert rather than a local lawyer who has to spend a lot of time researching the law. This allows both lawyers to focus on what they do best and saves you money.
- Travel costs. While many cases can be handled remotely, sometimes court appearances are necessary. If you do choose a lawyer from a different state, they may have to travel to you. This means that you may have to pay for airfare, transportation, lodging, and meals. These costs could add up quickly, so keep them in mind.
Contact Us Today
There are instances when you might want to use an attorney from a different state, but it’s not a good idea in all situations. There are things you need to consider before you make such a decision.
If you have been involved in a personal injury case, the Los Angeles Car Accidents Attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can help you work toward recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 213-985-1120 or fill out the online form.