District of Columbia

Rule 5.5 MJP/UPL Current

A lawyer shall not:

(a) practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violate the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction; or

(b) assist a person who is not a member of the bar in the performance of activity that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

Comments to Rule 5.5

In-House Counsel Rule

D.C. Ct. App. R. 49(c)(6) excludes “internal counsel” not licensed in D.C. from the unauthorized practice of law prohibitions, provided counsel restricts legal advice to his or her corporate employer.

Pro Hac Vice

Rule 49(c)(7) of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals provides for the admission of out-of-jurisdiction lawyers pro hac vice in the courts of the District of Columbia. Rule 49(c)(7)(i) restricts any lawyer from applying for pro hac vice admission in the District of Columbia in more than five cases per calendar year, “except for exceptional cause shown to the court.” Applicants must complete and file an application and a sworn statement attesting under penalty of perjury to a variety of things, including that there are no disciplinary complaints pending against the lawyer for violation of the rules in the jurisdictions in which he or she is admitted, that the lawyer has not been suspended or disbarred for disciplinary reasons in any other court, that the lawyer is associating with a member of the D.C. Bar, and that the lawyer does not practice or hold him or herself out to practice in the District of Columbia. The lawyer must also acknowledge the power and jurisdiction of the D.C. courts over his or her professional conduct and agree to be bound by the District’s rules of professional conduct in the matter in which the lawyer is admitted to appear.

The application process is set forth in Rule 49(c)(7)(vi). The District charges an application fee of $100. Waiver of this fee is allowed in limited circumstances under Rule 49(c)(7)(v).

Under Rule 49(c)(7)(iii), “[n]o person who maintains or operates from an office or location for the practice of law within the District of Columbia may be admitted to practice before a court of the District of Columbia pro hac vice, unless the person qualifies under another express exception provided in section (c) hereof.”

Under Rule 49(c)(7)(vii), “[t]he court to which the relevant litigation matter is assigned may grant or deny applications, and withdraw admissions to participate pro hac vice in its discretion.”

Admission on Motion

Pursuant to Rule 46(c)(3), to practice without having to sit for the D.C. bar exam you must submit proof of good moral character as it relates to the practice of law, be a member of good standing of a bar of a court of general jurisdiction in any state or territory in the US for a period of five years immediately preceding the filing of the application or has been awarded a JD or LLB by an ABA approved law school at the time the degree was awarded or has been admitted to the practice of law in any state or territory of the United States upon the successful completion of a written bar examination and has received a scaled score of 133 or more on the Multistate Bar Examination which the state or territory deems to have been taken as a part of such examination, and have taken and passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination in accordance with Rule 46(b)(5).


The District of Columbia Bar
1250 H Street NW, Sixth Floor
Washington DC 20005-5937
Phone (202) 737-4700
Fax (202) 626-3471

Committee on Admissions
Moultrie Courthouse
500 Indiana Avenue N.W., Room 4200
Washington, DC 20001
Phone (202) 879-2710
Email: coa@dcca.state.dc.us