August 2, 2021
Out-of-state attorneys who want to appear as arbitration counsel in California are in luck. They do not have to be licensed by the California State Bar to provide legal help, so long as they comply with certain requirements.
The State Bar of California has implemented a program for out-of-state attorneys to apply to represent a party in a California arbitration proceeding, called the Out-of-State Attorney Arbitration Counsel (OSAAC) program. The requirements of an OSAAC appearance are detailed in California Code of Civil Procedure section 1282.4 (part of the California Arbitration Act), as well as in California Rules of Court, rule 9.43.
First, an attorney must fill out a State Bar approved form called the Certificate of Out-of-State Attorney Arbitration Counsel, which contains the following information:
(1) The case name and number, and the name of the arbitrator, arbitrators, or arbitral forum assigned to the proceeding in which the attorney seeks to appear.
(2) The attorney’s residence and office address.
(3) The courts before which the attorney has been admitted to practice and the dates of admission.
(4) That the attorney is currently a member in good standing of, and eligible to practice law before, the bar of those courts.
(5) That the attorney is not currently on suspension or disbarred from the practice of law before the bar of any court.
(6) That the attorney is not a resident of the State of California.
(7) That the attorney is not regularly employed in the State of California.
(8) That the attorney is not regularly engaged in substantial business, professional, or other activities in the State of California.
(9) That the attorney agrees to be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state with respect to the law of this state governing the conduct of attorneys to the same extent as a member of the State Bar of California.
(10) The title of the court and the cause in which the attorney has filed an application to appear as counsel pro hac vice in this state or filed a certificate pursuant to this section in the preceding two years, the date of each application or certificate, and whether or not it was granted. If the attorney has made repeated appearances, the certificate shall reflect the special circumstances that warrant the approval of the attorney’s appearance in the arbitration.
(11) The name, address, and telephone number of the active member of the State Bar of California who is the attorney of record.
The out-of-state attorney must serve the completed Certificate on the arbitrator(s) or arbitral forum, the State Bar of California, and all other parties and counsel in the arbitration whose addresses are known to the attorney. (The Certificate can be submitted to the State Bar by way of an online Out-of-State Arbitration Counsel application, in which the attorney uploads the completed Certificate and any required documentation, and pays a $50.00 filing fee.)
If the arbitrator(s) or arbitral forum approve the attorney’s appearance, the attorney must then serve the approved Certificate on all parties and counsel in the arbitration whose addresses are known to the attorney, and file the approved Certificate with the State Bar via the online application portal.
An attorney who fails to submit the Certificate as required, or who submits a Certificate containing false information, or who otherwise does not comply with the standards of professional conduct required by the State Bar during the course of the arbitration will be subject to disciplinary action by the State Bar.
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This article is based on the law as of the date posted at the top of the article. This article does not constitute the provision of legal advice, and does not by itself create an attorney-client relationship with Eskridge Law.