Wednesday’s Word: Vicki’s Paralegal Vocabulary

Pro hac vice, Latin for “for this occasion” or “for this event,” (literally, “for this turn”[1]) is a legal term usually referring to a lawyer who has not been admitted to practice in a certain jurisdiction but has been allowed to participate in a particular case in that jurisdiction.

The right to appear pro hac vice is not guaranteed. Rather, the attorney wanting to practice in a jurisdiction within which he or she is not licensed must specifically request permission from the court to be able to appear as an attorney of record. This is accomplished with a motion to appear pro hac vice, in which an attorney who is licensed in the jurisdiction requests that the non‐licensed attorney be admitted to practice in a particular case.

In addition to the motion, the non‐licensed attorney is typically required to provide the court with a statement from his local bar association indicating that he is a member in good standing and also pay a small fee to the local bar association.

A fictional example of a pro hac vice appearance occurs in the film The Devil’s Advocate, where Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) argues a case for the New York firm he has just joined after moving from Florida. A real‐life example was the admission of attorney William L. Allinder of the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon (in Kansas City) to work pro hac vice in a lawsuit against the tobacco industry filed by Marsha F. and Richard Doolittle in New Jersey in 2002.[2]