LICENSING OF FOREIGN LEGAL CONSULTANTS
(a) Qualifications for Licensure. In its discretion, the Supreme Court of the State of South Carolina may license to practice in this State as a foreign legal consultant, without examination, an applicant who:
(1) is a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign country, the members of which are admitted to practice as attorneys or counselors at law or the equivalent and are subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or a public authority;
(2) for at least five of the seven years immediately preceding his or her application has been a member in good standing of such legal profession and has actually been engaged in the practice of law in the said foreign country or elsewhere substantially involving or relating to the rendering of advice or the provision of legal services concerning the law of the said foreign country;
(3) possesses the good moral character and general fitness requisite for a member of the Bar of this State;
(4) is at least twenty-six years of age; and
(5) intends to practice as a foreign legal consultant in this State and to maintain an office in this State for that purpose.
(b) Application. An applicant under this rule shall file an application with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $1,000. The application shall include the following:
(1) a certificate from the professional body or public authority in such foreign country having final jurisdiction over professional discipline, certifying as to the applicant’s admission to practice and the date thereof, and as to his or her good standing as such attorney or counselor at law or the equivalent;
(2) a letter of recommendation from one of the members of the executive body of such professional body or public authority or from one of the judges of the highest law court or court of original jurisdiction of such foreign country;
(3) a duly authenticated English translation of such certificate and such letter if, in either case, it is not in English; and
(4) such other evidence as to the applicant’s educational and professional qualifications, good moral character and general fitness, and compliance with the requirements of section (a) of this rule as the Supreme Court of the State of South Carolina may require.
(c) Confidentiality. The files and records maintained by the Clerk relating to the licensing of foreign legal consultants shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as necessary by the Clerk to carry out his or her own responsibilities. The Clerk may disclose information to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and to the bar admission authorities in other jurisdictions, and may disclose the names of those persons who are licensed as foreign legal consultants and the date of their licensing. The Supreme Court may authorize the release of confidential information to other persons or agencies.
(d) Scope of Practice. A person licensed to practice as a foreign legal consultant under this rule may render legal services in this State subject, however, to the limitations that he or she shall not:
(1) appear for a person other than himself or herself as attorney in any court, or before any magistrate, administrative body, or other judicial officer, in this State;
(2) prepare any deed, mortgage, assignment, lease, or any other instrument effecting the transfer or registration of title to real estate located in the United States of America;
(A) any will or trust instrument effecting the disposition on death of any property located in the United States of America and owned by a resident thereof, or
(B) any instrument relating to the administration of a decedent’s estate in the United States of America;
(4) prepare any instrument in respect to the marital or parental relations, rights, or duties of a resident of the United States of America, or the custody or care of the children of such a resident;
(5) render professional legal advice on the laws of this State, the laws of any other state, the laws of the District of Columbia, the laws of the United States of America or of any territory or possession thereof, or the laws of any foreign country other than the country in which the foreign legal consultant is admitted to practice as an attorney or the equivalent thereof;
(6) be, or in any way hold himself or herself out as, a member of the Bar of this State; or
(7) carry on his or her practice under, or utilize in connection with such practice, any name, title, or designation other than one or more of the following:
(A) his or her own name;
(B) the name of the law firm with which he or she is affiliated;
(C) his or her authorized title in the foreign country of his or her admission to practice, which may be used in conjunction with the name of such country; and
(D) the title "foreign legal consultant," which shall be used in conjunction with the words "admitted to the practice of law in [name of the foreign country of his or her admission to practice]" and also stating "Not a member of the South Carolina Bar."
(e) Rights and Obligations. Subject to the limitations set forth in section (d) of this rule, a person licensed as a foreign legal consultant under this rule shall be considered a lawyer affiliated with the Bar of this State and shall be entitled and subject to:
(1) the rights and obligations set forth in the Rules of Professional Conduct of Rule 407, South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. With respect to continuing legal education requirements of Rule 408(a), a person licensed as a foreign legal consultant shall annually attend at least two (2) hours of approved Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses devoted to legal ethics/professional conduct; and
(2) the rights and obligations of a member of the Bar of this State with respect to:
(A) affiliation in the same law firm with one or more members of the Bar of this State, including by:
(i) employing one or more members of the Bar of this State;
(ii) being employed by one or more members of the Bar of this State or by any partnership (or professional corporation) which includes members of the Bar of this State or which maintains an office in this State; and
(iii) being a partner in any partnership (or shareholder in any professional corporation) which includes members of the Bar of this State or which maintains an office in this State; and
(B) attorney-client privilege, work-product privilege, and similar professional privileges.
(f) Disciplinary Provisions. A person licensed to practice as a foreign legal consultant under this rule shall be subject to professional discipline in the same manner and to the same extent as members of the Bar of this State and to this end:
(1) every person licensed to practice as a foreign legal consultant under these rules:
(A) shall be subject to control by the Supreme Court and to admonition, reprimand, or suspension of his or her license to practice by the Supreme Court of the State of South Carolina and shall otherwise be governed by Rule 407, South Carolina Appellate Court Rules; and
(B) shall execute and file with the Clerk of the Supreme Court, in such form and manner as such Court may prescribe:
(i) his or her commitment to observe the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, South Carolina Appellate Court Rules, to the extent applicable to the legal services authorized under (c) of this rule;
(ii) a written undertaking to notify the Supreme Court of any change in such person's good standing as a member of the foreign legal profession referred to in (a)(1) of this rule and of any final action of the professional body or public authority referred to in (b)(1) of this rule imposing any disciplinary censure, suspension, or any other sanction upon such person; and
(iii) a duly acknowledged instrument, in writing, designating the Clerk of the Supreme Court as his or her agent upon whom process may be served, with like effect as if served personally upon him or her, in any action or proceeding thereafter brought against him or her and arising out of or based upon any legal services rendered or offered to be rendered by him or her within or to residents of this State whenever, after due diligence, service cannot be made upon him at the South Carolina address listed for him or her in the Attorney Information System (AIS). The written acknowledgment shall also contain a statement that the foreign legal consultant will maintain an address in South Carolina, and that he or she will update and verify that address in the AIS as required by Rule 410, SCACR.
(2) Service of process on the Clerk of the Supreme Court, pursuant to the designation filed as aforesaid, shall be made by personally delivering to and leaving with such Clerk, or with a deputy or assistant authorized by him or her to receive such service, at his or her office, duplicate copies of such process together with a fee of $10. Service of process shall be complete when such Clerk has been so served. Such Clerk shall promptly send one of such copies to the foreign legal consultant to whom the process is directed, by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to such foreign legal consultant at the address listed for that foreign legal consultant in the AIS.
(g) License Fees and Duty to Update and Verify the Attorney Information System (AIS). A person licensed as a foreign legal consultant shall pay the license fees specified in Rule 410, SCACR. Further, foreign legal consultants must update and verify their information on AIS as required by Rule 410, SCACR.
(h) Revocation of License. In the event the Supreme Court of the State of South Carolina determines that a person licensed as a foreign legal consultant under this rule no longer meets the requirements for licensure set forth in (a)(1) or (a)(3) of this rule, it shall revoke the license granted to such person hereunder.
(i) Termination of License. The license as a foreign legal consultant shall terminate if:
(1) The license is revoked by the Supreme Court under (h) above.
(2) The foreign legal consultant is suspended under Rule 419, SCACR. The foreign legal consultant may seek reinstatement as provided in Rule 419.
(3) The foreign legal consultant is admitted to practice law in South Carolina under Rule 402, 405, 414, or 415, SCACR.
(j) Resignation. Any request by an attorney licensed under this rule shall be processed as provided by Rule 409, SCACR.
(k) Surrender of License. Upon the termination of the license or the acceptance of a resignation of the foreign legal consultant, the foreign legal consultant shall immediately surrender the license to the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The failure to immediately surrender the license upon termination or the acceptance of a resignation may subject the foreign legal consultant to discipline under (f) above, or to being held in contempt of the Supreme Court.
(l) Application for Waiver of Provisions. The Supreme Court of the State of South Carolina, upon application, may in its discretion vary the application or waive any provision of this rule where strict compliance will cause undue hardship to the applicant. Such application shall be in the form of a verified petition setting forth the applicant's name, age, and residence address, together with the facts relied upon and a prayer for relief. Such application shall be accompanied by a filing fee of $75.
Last amended by Order dated October 11, 2023.