Latin Lawyer Guest Article: Raising the Bar


The Texas Supreme Court has recently published for comment rule changes that largely adopt the unanimous recommendations of the Texas Supreme Court task force on international law practice. The reforms address three primary areas: (i) the eligibility of foreign lawyers to sit for the Texas Bar exam (primarily designed for licensed foreign lawyers who have graduated from an accredited law school in their home country and complete an LLM at an American Bar Association accredited law school); (ii) the foreign legal consultant certification for foreign lawyers who wish to solely practice the law of their home country while working in Texas; and (iii) the pro hac vice rule permitting a foreign lawyer to appear in a Texas court proceeding upon application to the judge and with the presence of Texas counsel. The reforms would make Texas more competitive with New York and California in the area of international law practice, and create new opportunities for Latin American lawyers.

The Texas Supreme Court charged the task force with the following tasks: (i) clarify relevant issues; (ii) study recent developments in law related to foreigntrained lawyers; and (iii) modernise existing criteria to meet the needs of international law practice in Texas. The task force consisted of a diverse crosssection of attorneys, including lawyers from private law firms, in-house legal departments, and academia, as well as representatives of the Texas Board of Law Examiners (BLE), the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. These diverse perspectives were essential, as rule revisions had to be drafted to function with bar rules and practices around the world. Task force meetings were held in Austin and both staff of the Supreme Court and a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court attended many of the meetings. The task force worked for over three years on the project, tendering its report to the Supreme Court in December 2012.

Excerpted from the Latin Lawyer, August 11, 2014. To view full article, click the PDF below.

Latin Lawyer - Raising the Bar.pdf

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