Can a Lawyer from Another State Represent You?

Can a Lawyer from Another State Represent You

Personal injury lawsuits are complex enough but when you are considering having a lawyer from another state represent you, it can get even more complicated.

It’s understandable to want a local attorney to represent you in your out of state case. Hiring a local attorney is convenient and feels more personal. But is it possible? Can you hire an out of state attorney for a personal injury case?

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to learn whether or not an out of state lawyer can represent you. It is a matter of jurisdiction and bar certification.

Out of State Lawyers and Jurisdiction

First, find out which state will have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction explains the area that has the power to make legal decisions and judgments regarding your claim.

Typically, jurisdiction laws require that you bring forth a case in the state where the accident occurred or the state where the person who injured you lives. This means that if you live in Iowa but are injured in Illinois and/or the person who injured you resides in Illinois, you will likely need to bring forth your claim in Illinois.

However, just because another state has jurisdiction does not mean that a lawyer from another state can’t represent you.

Out of State Lawyers and Bar Certification

In most cases, your attorney must be admitted to the bar in the state with jurisdiction.

Most states have a process for an out of state attorney to be admitted to represent a client for one case only.  The Latin phrase “pro hac vice” or “for this occasion only” describes this process.  There may or may not be a requirement that the out of state attorney partner with an in-state attorney.  Each state has its own process.

Additionally, an alternative to “pro hac vice” admission is recognized by a handful of states and is called “reciprocity”. Reciprocity means that although the lawyer from another state hasn’t taken the bar in the state with jurisdiction, their admission to the bar in another state allows them to practice in the state with jurisdiction.

For example, in Iowa, admission to the Iowa Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions may be granted if:

●      The attorney holds a law license;

●      The attorney has practiced for at least five of the past seven years; and

●      Practice has occurred in another U.S. state or the District of Columbia.

See Iowa Court Rules 31.12 and 31.13 for more information.

Don’t Let Location Hold You Back from Excellent Representation

Never settle for a lawyer based on jurisdiction. A personal injury lawyer can make or break your case, potentially costing you millions of dollars. Recognize good personal injury lawyers by awards, impressive case results, dedicated and caring staff, and listening to your story.

Our managing partner Dennis VanDerGinst is able to practice law in Illinois, Iowa, and federal courts but can handle cases outside of those states as well. Dennis and our team of dedicated staff and attorneys have helped thousands of people recover millions of dollars, and we are more than happy to consult with you regarding your personal injury case.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.