MemorandumTo: Ms. Vasumathi Suresh
From: Kavitha Ramasami
Date: March 22, 2001
Re: Job prospects for a foreign attorney in the United States
Ms. Vasumathi Suresh, an attorney with offices in the city of Madras, India, has requested information regarding employment prospects for foreign attorneys residing in the United States. Ms. Vasumathi Suresh is 36 years old and is licensed to practice law in the State of Tamil Nadu, India.
Ms. Suresh has experience practicing in the fields of corporate law, international law, estate planning, property and family law. Her knowledge of corporate and international law has been widely recognized by judges, legal experts, and the editors of various legal journals. She is considered an expert in the field of investments and also serves on the board of directors for a number of leading companies in India.
Ms. Vasumathi Suresh has traveled widely to many countries such as Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States, to study the business investments and corporate law of those countries.
As the author for eight books dealing with various aspects of international law investments, trade relations, corporations, and business transactions, Ms. Suresh has benefited from numerous educational courses in a number of countries (Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States). She has also written many articles which have been frequently cited in court opinions and published in respected magazines. Ms. Suresh has received a number of professional awards from both the government and business sector in her country and is currently contemplating a career move.
Ideally, Ms. Suresh would be interested in exploring job opportunities in the city of Chicago, Illinois, Chicago has a sizable Indian community and Ms. Suresh would like to offer her skills as a consultant to Americans interested in developing business ties with her country.
(1) Is Ms. Suresh eligible for employment in Illinois as a foreign legal consultant？
(2) Would Ms. Suresh be qualified, as a foreign attorney, to represent clients before the court of Illinois？
Ms. Suresh can work as a foreign legal consultant in the state of Illinois. She can advise on Indian law but not United States law. As a requirement for being licensed as a foreign legal consultant, Ms. Suresh must prove 1) good standing as an attorney in India, for a period of not less than five of seven years immediately preceding the date of her application； and 2) good moral character and fitness requisite for a member of the bar of the state of Illinois.
Ms. Suresh s also eligible to appear in the courts as a foreign attorney in isolated cases by filing the motion of pro hac vice, which if granted by the court, can appear in the court for the particular case, whereas Ms. Vasumathi Suresh can neither practice as an attorney on a regular basis advising clients on United States law nor can take the bar exam and practice in the state of Illinois.
The relevant rules are attached in the appendix to this memorandum.
A foreign attorney who has good moral character and the required documentary evidence may be licensed in Illinois as a "foreign legal consultant" without having to take any examination. She may also be able to appear in court as a foreign attorney on an isolated case by special permission of the court.
(1) Foreign Legal Consultant
Ms. Vasumathi Suresh can get license as a foreign legal consultant. According to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 712: The Supreme Court in its discretion may license a foreign attorney to practice as a foreign legal consultant on foreign and international law without examination, provided the foreign attorney has engaged in the practice of law and has a good standing, for a period of not less than five of the seven years immediately preceding the date of application, Ms. Suresh should have the requisite documents complying with the immigration laws of the United States and also evidence of good moral character.
Reciprocity is also considered as to whether the country of the applicant will allow the member of the bar of Illinois to establish an office for giving legal advice. India permits attorneys from United States to set up an office in India. Ms. Vasumathi Suresh is thus fully eligible to practice as a foreign legal consultant as far as reciprocity is concerned.
The rules also require the applicant to "file with the Supreme Court or its designee the proof such as 1) certificate from the authority in foreign country having final jurisdiction over professional discipline, certifying the applicant’s admission to the practice, date of admission and also his or her good standing as such attorney, 2) a letter of recommendation from one of the members of the executive body of such authority or from one of the judges of the highest law courts (in the case of India, a judge from Supreme Court of India). 3) evidence of citizenship, educational, professional qualifications, age and period of actual practice in the foreign country (India), 4) affidavits of reputable persons as evidence of applicant’s good moral and general fitness, and 5) summary of law and customs of such foreign country regarding the opportunity afforded in such foreign country, to the member of the bar of Supreme Court to establish offices in such foreign country."
If it is difficult or could cause any hardship for Ms. Vasumathi Suresh t receive a letter from Supreme Court of India from getting such a letter and may permit Ms. Vasumathi Suresh to produce some other evidence in respect of the same.
Under Rule 713 (b) (3), Ms. Suresh should file the following along with her application for the license of foreign legal consultant:
(ⅰ) Affidavits of three reputable persons who are residents of Illinois, and two of the three should be practicing attorneys. The affidavits should state the good moral character of Ms. Suresh and her fitness to practice as a foreign legal consultant； and
(ⅱ)Affidavits from two attorneys or counselors at law in India. The affidavits have to state their acquaintance with Ms. Suresh. The affidavits should also state Ms. Suresh’s good standing in the bar and her good moral character. Ms. Vasumathi Suresh must also provide her university and law school certificates along with the application for the license of foreign legal consultant.
Ms. Suresh must file the application and supporting documents in the office of the Clerk of Supreme Court. There will be an advance fee of $150, which must be paid to the treasurer of the board of admissions to the bar.
A licensed foreign legal consultant may give advice only on the law of the foreign jurisdiction. The consultant may not give legal advice or prepare any documents with respect to United States law.
(2) Appearing in the Court in Isolated Cases
Under rule 707 (3), Ms. Suresh can appear or participate before the court in trial or in the argument of any specific case for which she has been employed. In order to represent the Client before the court, Ms. Suresh has to file a Motion of pro hac vice. If the motion is granted, Ms. Suresh can only participate in the case for which motion is granted and not in any other cases.
Ms. Vasumathi Suresh can apply for a license as a foreign legal consultant in the state of Illinois. She can give professional advice in the state of Illinois only on Indian law. She can also represent clients in courts of the state of Illinois in isolated cases, if the court grants a motion to appear pro hac vice.