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National Association for Advancement of Multijurisdiction Practice v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 17, 2016

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF MULTIJURISDICTION PRACTICE (NAAMJP); MARINNA L. CALLAWAY; JOSE JEHUDA GARCIA; DALE E. WORKMAN; W. PEYTON GEORGE, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
v.
LORETTA E. LYNCH, Attorney General; DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, Chief Judge; RICHARD D. BENNETT, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; CATHERINE C. BLAKE, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; JAMES K. BREDAR, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; THEODORE D. CHUANG, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; MARVIN J. GARBIS, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; PAUL W. GRIMM, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; GEORGE J. HAZEL, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; ELLEN L. HOLLANDER, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; PETER J. MESSITTE, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; FREDERICK J. MOTZ, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; WILLIAM M. NICKERSON, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; WILLIAM D. QUARLES, JR., United States District Court for the District of Maryland; GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; ROGER W. TITUS, United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued: May 10, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, sitting by designation. (1:14-cv-02110-RJC)

         ARGUED:

          Joseph Robert Giannini, Los Angeles, California, for Appellants.

          Brian Paul Hudak, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, Alan Burch, Special Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

          Before FLOYD and THACKER, Circuit Judges, and John A. GIBNEY, Jr., United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, sitting by designation.

          GIBNEY, District Judge:

         "'Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.'" Theard v. United States, 354 U.S. 278, 281 (1957) (quoting In re Rouss, 221 N.Y. 81, 84, 116 N.E. 782, 783 (1917)). The National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdictional Practice and four attorneys (together, "NAAMJP") challenge the conditions placed on the privilege of admission to the Bar of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (the "District" or the "District Court") in Local Rule 701 ("Rule 701" or the "Rule").[1] Because Rule 701 violates neither the Constitution nor federal law, we affirm the district court's decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Rule 701 governs attorney admission to practice in the District Court.[2] The Rule contains requirements based on the state of licensure and, in some instances, the location of the attorney's law office.[3] The Rule allows for admission of attorneys licensed in the State of Maryland. The Rule also allows for admission of non-Maryland attorneys if the applying attorney maintains his or her principal law office in the state in which he or she is licensed to practice law, as long as the relevant federal district court in the state of licensure does not deny admission to Maryland attorneys. In other words, admission to non-Maryland attorneys extends only to attorneys in states whose district courts observe reciprocity with the District Court. Regardless of reciprocity, however, the District will not admit a non-Maryland attorney if that attorney maintains a law office in Maryland.

         According to the District, the Rule encourages bar membership in Maryland for attorneys intending to practice there, and, with its reciprocity provision, encourages other jurisdictions to adopt liberal licensing standards. Further, the District contends that the principal law office requirement ensures effective local supervision of the conduct of attorneys. In response to these points, NAAMJP spews a slew of bad words to describe Rule 701, including discriminatory, monopolistic, balkanizing, and unconstitutional.

         NAAMJP sued the Attorney General and each of the judges of the District Court, challenging the validity of Rule 701. The defendants moved to dismiss, and NAAMJP moved for summary judgment. The district court[4] granted the motion to dismiss and ...


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