Effect of A Foreign Attorney Transferring Practice to Virginia — What Constitutes Practice of Law.

An attorney licensed in the District of Columbia requested the committee to determine if he moved his practice to Virginia whether he could continue to practice without a Virginia license. The attorney’s practice was largely legislative, governmental and advisory in nature, with little direct court practice. He further indicated that he would not be engaged in any court or judicial practice and that he would not hold himself out as being a member of Virginia State Bar.

The committee determined that the attorney would be practicing law in Virginia. One is deemed to be practicing law whenever he furnishes to another advice or service under circumstances which imply his possession and use of legal knowledge or skill. [Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, Part 6, § I]. Thus, because the attorney was a non-lawyer for purposes of Part 6, § I, his proposed activities would constitute the unauthorized practice of law in Virginia.

Committee Opinion
December 9, 1986
Updated: Aug 28, 2006