As hundreds of displaced Louisiana lawyers stream across the state line into Texas to rebuild their practices and lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the last thing they need is the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee breathing down their necks.
UPLC officials and the State Bar of Texas realize that. So leaders from both groups recently consulted with the Texas Supreme Court about how to handle the influx of out-of-state lawyers into the Lone Star State.
On Sept. 2, the high court quickly issued a one-paragraph order that allows displaced lawyers holding law licenses from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to practice in Texas for a period of 30 days without fear of reprisal from the UPLC.
“Normally a lawyer who’s not licensed in Texas who comes into Texas to practice would need to be licensed,” says Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright, who serves as the court’s liaison to the State Bar of Texas. “But the order suspends that.”
“What we’re doing is helping people who have been affected by an incredible disaster and at the same time keeping an eye on the integrity of the bar as well,” Wainwright says. (more…)