About a week ago, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association issued a joint ethics opinion on whether a lawyer licensed in Pennsylvania may work remotely from another jurisdiction, even if the lawyer is not licensed in that jurisdiction. The opinion concludes that the answer is YES, as long as it is OK with the jurisdiction where the attorney is located.
This conclusion is consistent with the ABA’s Formal Opinion 495, issued last December, but it does not really provide a lot of guidance to lawyers practicing from home in a different jurisdiction that the jurisdiction where they licensed.
Let’s say that a lawyer lives in New Jersey, where she is not licensed, but has an office in Philadelphia, where she is licensed. Typically, the lawyer commutes to the office and practices law in Pennsylvania. But due to the pandemic, she is now working from home in New Jersey. The question is whether the lawyer is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania opinion does not answer that question. To find and answer to that question, the lawyer will have to research what the law is in New Jersey.
LawSites has a short comment here.