Are You Paying Attention to This Local Counsel Rule in The Northern District of Illinois?

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (centered in Chicago) has a multijurisdictional practice rule that differs quite a bit from that in many state rules of professional conduct.

Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 83.14 allows pro hac vice (temporary) admission to practice before the court:

LR83.14. Appearance by Attorneys Not Members of the Bar

A member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state or of any United States district court may, upon motion, be permitted to argue or try a particular case in whole or in part subject to the requirements of LR83.12. A petition for admission under this rule shall be on a form approved by the Executive Committee. The clerk shall provide copies of such forms on request.

The fee for admission under this Rule shall be established by the Court. The fee shall be paid to the clerk who shall deposit it in the District Court Fund.

A petition for admission under this rule may be presented by the petitioner. No admission under this rule shall become effective until such time as the fee has been paid. (Amended 05/31/11)

A petition must be filed and, at least technically under the rule, need not be filed by a local counsel in Chicago. But note that there is a local counsel requirement under Local Rule 83.15(a):

LR83.15. Local Counsel: Designation for Service

(a) Designation. An attorney not having an office within this District (“nonresident attorney”) shall appear before this Court only upon having designated as local counsel a member of the bar of this Court having an office within this District upon whom service of papers may be made. Such designation shall be made at the time the initial notice or pleading is filed by the nonresident attorney. Local counsel shall file an appearance but is not required to participate in the case beyond the extent required of an attorney designated pursuant to this rule.

On its face, this local counsel rule applies to any “nonresident attorney” (including members of the Northern District bar who do not have an office in the District). Such a nonresident attorney must designate a local counsel within 30 days of an initial filing, or risk having filings stricken. See Local Rule 83.15(b). I am not personally aware of cases where the local counsel requirement has been waived, but please comment if you know any.