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Sections weigh in on proposed MJP rules

first_imgSections weigh in on proposed MJP rules Sections weigh in on proposed MJP rules Following requests from two sections and a committee, proposed rules on multijurisdictional practices will be reconsidered before final approval by the Bar Board of Governors.The Business Law Section, International Law Section, and Rules of Judicial Administration Committee — all of which met during the Bar’s recent Annual Meeting — expressed reservations including difficulties the changes could cause in Florida’s effort to became an arbitration and mediation center for business and trade disputes in the Americas.The Board of Governors had reviewed the amendments, recommended by a special commission, at its May meeting. Final passage was set for the board’s August 22 meeting, but the item has been pulled from the agenda. The MJP commission reviewed recommendations from the ABA before making its own proposals to the board.The catch in the rules is a prohibition of foreign lawyers from appearing in litigation and arbitration.That would prevent foreign lawyers representing companies in their home countries from coming to Florida to arbitrate cases under the 34-nation Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) organization. Florida is vying to get the secretariat of that group to be located in the state, although Atlanta is also trying to attract the organization.“This would lead to Florida not being the seat of arbitration.. . . These rules will have a dramatic effect, a dramatic negative effect, on international arbitration in Florida,” said Ed Davis, a member of the International Law Section who presented the issue to the Business Law Section Executive Council.He added that the concern was limited to arbitration issues, not litigation restrictions in the rules.The arbitration center is projected to have an $80 million impact on the state.The two sections passed a resolution prepared by the International Law Section calling for a new commission to study the MJP issue. The rules committee asked to have the matter reconsidered, since it removed judges’ discretion to allow more than three pro hac vice admissions in a year.Although the rule changes had been advertised in the Bar News and articles also appeared about the issue, Davis said lawyers involved in the trade arbitration didn’t realize how it would affect the FTAA.“It was something no one paid any attention to,” he said.Bar Unlicensed Practice of Law Counsel Lori Holcomb, who acted as staff for the MJP commission, said the arbitration issue hadn’t been raised to the commission. She said as soon as Bar President Miles McGrane heard about the reservations about the MJP rule, he ordered the item pulled from the August agenda. He also asked the commission to meet again to consider the points raised by the section and committee.“We welcome any input,” Holcomb said.She said the Governor’s Office had also contacted the Bar about the foreign lawyer arbitration issue. McGrane wrote back, promising, “It will be sent back to our Commission on MJP for review and requested to either come up with an exception to the rule or a rule change to accommodate foreign lawyers who will be affected by the new rule.”McGrane also said the Bar would welcome guidance from the Governor’s Office on how best to accomplish that.center_img July 15, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more