Transnational Legal Practice (United States) [2010-2012]

Laurel Terry


This article covers three years of Transnational Legal Practice developments in the U.S. (It is the companion article to 47 Int’l Lawyer 485 (2013) which discusses transnational legal practice developments outside of the U.S.) This article begins by briefly reviewing the uncertainty about the future of U.S. legal education and legal services. The next section discusses the proposals and changes that emanated from the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, which was tasked with evaluating what changes were needed in light of globalization and technology developments. The third section of this article discusses the Uniform Bar Exam and its implications for transnational practice. The next section summarizes those activities of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar related to transnational legal practice. The article notes that the Council declined to follow a committee recommendation that it adopt the proposed Model Rule on Admission of Foreign Educated Lawyers and the Proposed Criteria for ABA Certification of an LL.M Degree for the Practice of Law in the United States. The Council also chose not to take any action that would allow ABA accreditation of law schools located outside the U.S. The article highlights the fact that the strong reactions provoked by these two issues illustrate the competing visions in the United States about the best way to respond to globalization developments. The next section highlights some recent state rule changes that affect transnational legal practice including rule changes in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, and New York and a number of additional developments in New York. The sixth section of the article discusses trade agreement developments relevant to legal services, including the issuance of a 2010 WTO Secretariat Sectoral Report and the 2013 updated IBA GATS Handbook. The next section of the article discusses “gatekeeper” issues, including the ABA’s 2010 adoption of the “Voluntary Good Practices Guidance for Lawyers to Detect and Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.” The ABA hopes that if U.S. lawyers follow the Voluntary Good Practices Guidance, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and others will not push for the draconian implementation of the FATF recommendations that exists in some other FATF countries, such as the U.K. The final section of this article highlights some new transnational legal practice resources, including two recently-published ABA books.