Case Caption: In re Application of Jindal; In re Application of Roush; In re Application of SchmittenCase Number: S. Ct. BA. No. 2018-0018, 2018-0019, 2018-0020Date: 11/29/2018Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary: Following this Court’s June 15, 2018 order to show cause – in light of an allegation that the applicants have engaged in unauthorized practice of law in the Virgin Islands – their applications for admission to practice pro hac vice are denied, and this matter is referred to the appropriate authorities. The claims that the acts performed by the applicants were consistent with ordinary cross-jurisdictional litigation practice, or that it is relevant that the acts were performed while they were physically present in Washington, D.C., are wholly without merit. Rule 211.8.5 of the Virgin Islands Rules of Professional Conduct governs choice of law when attorneys engage in multi-jurisdictional practice, and provides that for conduct in connection with a matter pending before a tribunal, the rules of the jurisdiction in which the tribunal sits shall apply. When they applied for pro hac vice admission, these applicants agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of this Court and to be bound by the disciplinary rules applicable to Virgin Islands attorneys. Therefore, the Virgin Islands definition of the practice of law—including Virgin Islands rules and statutes relating to the unauthorized practice of law—apply to their conduct. Under Rule 211.5.5 of the Virgin Islands Rules of Professional Conduct the practice of law encompasses all matters implicating the rights and remedies of clients. These applicants held themselves out as lawyers with respect to the underlying matter, and any work they claimed to have performed necessarily exceeded the acts—if any—that could permissibly be performed by a paralegal or secretary. Neither Supreme Court Rule 201, Virgin Islands Rule of Professional Conduct 211.5.5, 4 V.I.C. § 443, nor any other applicable Virgin Islands rule or statute codifies a federal practice exception to either the prohibition on unauthorized practice of law or the requirement that one cannot practice law in the Virgin Islands without being a member of the Virgin Islands Bar, and no such exception is recognized. Accordingly, the petitions for admission pro hac vice are denied. Since the underlying conduct may potentially warrant action beyond the denial of pro hac vice admission, 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.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion