Many practitioners who appear before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) handle arbitrations and mediations which are venued in states in which they are not admitted to practice law. FINRA rules permit a party to an arbitration to be represented by a non-lawyer, or by a lawyer admitted in any state. Organizations staffed by non-lawyers, such as Stock Market Recovery Consultants Inc., advertise for and represent claimants in FINRA arbitrations in some jurisdictions. Some law firms and corporate law departments maintain national practices, representing parties in FINRA arbitrations, sometimes in jurisdictions in which the individual attorney of record is not admitted to practice law. Still other firms eschew brick and mortar offices altogether, and purport to practice law in cyberspace. But compliance with FINRA rules is not a free pass with state regulators. The practice of law is defined by the individual states, which grant plenary law licenses to and police the conduct of attorneys who appear and practice in their jurisdictions. This article analyzes recent trends in multijurisdictional appearances by lawyers in alternative dispute resolution proceedings.
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