By Maud Poudat | US Immigration Attorney
Posted: October 30, 2019; Reviewed December 11, 2020
Under Florida law, a foreign legal consultant in is an individual admitted as an attorney, counselor of law or the equivalent in a foreign jurisdiction and who is qualified to give legal advice on the laws of the foreign jurisdiction(s) where they are admitted. They may provide for profit or pro-bono services.
Though there are certain restrictions on the services a foreign legal consultant may provide, a foreign legal consultant may advise individuals on foreign law in the same way that a US attorney could advise on US law.
An individual who is authorized to work in the United States, is admitted to a foreign jurisdiction as attorney, counselor of law of the equivalent has been practicing law as an attorney in that foreign jurisdiction for a period of at least 3 of the last 5 years immediately preceding the application for certification, and who otherwise meets the requirements of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct Section 16.-1 can become a foreign legal consultant.
Florida is an extremely diverse state with many foreign-born individuals who maintain property, business and family ties abroad. Naturally, they will at times require advice on the laws of their home countries.
As a foreign legal consultant, you have already gone through the generally difficult and expensive process of becoming an attorney or counselor of law in another country. Becoming a foreign legal consultant allows you to continue to advise on the foreign law that you already know while residing in the state of Florida.
As of November 2018, there were only 117 Foreign Legal Consultants in the state of Florida. This means that there is a good chance that any given individual who becomes a foreign legal consultant may be one of only a handful of foreign legal consultants from any given country.
Additionally, many individuals who are admitted as attorneys, counselors of law or the equivalent in foreign countries often take jobs as paralegals or legal assistants in the United States. Becoming a foreign legal consultant allows such individual to greatly increase their individual value by gaining the ability to advise on foreign laws, in addition to being able to legally use the title “Foreign Legal Consultant” or “FLC.”
The application to become a foreign legal consultant requires extensive documentation regarding the applicant’s background and collection of documents from the organization that regulates the practice of law in an applicant’s country of admission. An attorney can help determine if the documentation provided by the foreign entities meet the requirements set forth for foreign legal consultants by the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.
Additionally, the application to become a foreign legal consultant involves submitting a Character and Fitness Application to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and applying to the Florida Bar to be certified. The process is like the one undertaken by a Florida-licensed attorney. Therefore, a Florida bar licensed attorney would be in a good position to guide an applicant through the steps.
Call us today at 407.674.6968 or fill out our online form and we will contact back shortly. Both Suzanne Vazquez and Maud Poudat are certified as experts in Immigration and Nationality law by he Florida Bar and can help you with your application.