Case Caption: In re Anne Elder KershawCase Number: S. Ct. BA. No. 2018-0031Date: 02/08/2019Author: Per CuriamCitation: 2019 VI 5Summary:

In response to an order to show cause as to whether pro hac vice admission should be denied in light of an allegation that the applicant has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in the Virgin Islands, the motion for pro hac vice admission is denied. The New York attorney seeking pro hac vice admission was directed by prior order of this Court to execute the required oath of office before the Clerk of the Court. However, she appeared as counsel for the defendants in a pending litigation at a mediation that occurred on prior to taking the oath. Reliance by the attorney and her sponsor on American Bar Association Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5(c) is misplaced, since that provision was never applicable in the Virgin Islands, and its adoption was expressly declined in the order promulgating the Virgin Islands Rules of Professional Conduct, which also invoke 4 V.I.C. § 443. Applying Rule of Professional Conduct 211.5.5 and § 443—the correct legal authorities—it is clear that the applicant engaged in the unauthorized practice of law when she appeared as counsel at the mediation. Accordingly the petition to admit this attorney pro hac vice is denied, and this matter is referred to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the Board on Professional Responsibility, the Board on Unauthorized Practice of Law, and the Virgin Islands Attorney General, for the purpose of taking any additional action which they may find appropriate with respect to the conduct of the applicant and her sponsor in this matter.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion