Assume a Florida-licensed lawyer represents an investor who is temporarily residing in her North Carolina vacation home during the pandemic. The investor lived in New Jersey when a Pennsylvania-based broker provided her with bad advice. The investor files a claim, which is assigned to a FINRA New Jersey hearing location. The broker’s counsel is licensed in Connecticut, but currently living in Vermont, and the brokerage firm’s counsel is licensed in California, but currently living in New York. After discovery concludes, the investor’s case proceeds to a Zoom hearing with all parties, lawyers, and arbitrators participating remotely. Are any of the lawyers violating prohibitions on the unlicensed practice of law? Should they investigate the law of their licensing jurisdiction? Does the law of where the client receives the advice apply? Or is it the law of where the client resides? Maybe the law of the hearing location? Are there different answers for each of the participants? What multijurisdictional practice rules even apply when a hearing is conducted over the Internet? This ethics panel will endeavor to answer these questions by first examining multijurisdictional practice limitations generally in the FINRA forum and then discussing how technology permitting multiple parties to participate in a single online hearing from their homes complicates the analysis. We will endeavor to explore best practices and identify regulatory gaps where further guidance from FINRA and bar regulators may be required.
This session will be recorded for replay by Members fully registered to attend the PIABA Annual Meeting.