kKentucky’s Pro Hac Vice Procedure

Written By: Kyle M. Winslow

Today, appearance of lawyers on a pro hac vice basis is more common than ever.  Our law firm serves as local counsel for out-of-state attorneys in a variety of litigation cases.  Additionally, we often work with local counsel who serve our clients in other jurisdictions.  Because of the time-sensitive nature of litigation, this article seeks to simplify the pro hac vice procedure in Kentucky state and federal courts.

Admission to practice before a Kentucky state court

Out-of-state lawyers who are not licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and seek to appear before a Kentucky court must comply with Kentucky’s pro hac vice rule, Supreme Court Rule (“SCR”) 3.030.

First, the attorney seeking admission must submit a pro hac vice certification form through the Kentucky Bar Association (“KBA”).  This form can be found here. At the same time, the KBA requires a per case/per attorney fee in the amount of $310, plus an administrative processing fee of $10.85.

Second, the party wishing for counsel to appear pro hac vice must file a motion requesting permission for its out-of-state lawyer to appear in the case.  While SCR 3.030 does not explicitly state that a motion is required, it implies as much. SCR 3.030(2) (“No motion for permission to practice…shall be granted without submission…of a certification from the Kentucky Bar Association of receipt of this fee”) (emphasis added).  The motion must contain specific information to ensure compliance with SCR 3.030.  Prudent attorneys typically attach an affidavit with the following statements from the attorney seeking pro hac vice admission:

  • The lawyer subjects himself or herself to the jurisdiction and rules of the Supreme Court of Kentucky.
  • The lawyer paid the one-time per case fee required by SCR 3.030. The motion or the affidavit must attach a certification from the KBA of receipt of this fee.  The receipt is in the form of an invoice sent from the KBA.
  • The lawyer has engaged a member of the KBA as co-counsel.
  • The Kentucky attorney serving as co-counsel will attend all trials and will be present at any other times when required by the court.

In addition to the above, the party seeking admission of an out-of-state lawyer should also review the applicable local rules to determine if any additional requirements exist.

Admission to practice in Kentucky federal courts

Joint Local Rule 83.2 governs pro hac vice admission in Kentucky federal courts.

Local Rule 83.2 also requires a party wishing for counsel to appear pro hac vice to file a motion.  The attorney seeking admission must also pay a pro hac vice admission fee in the amount of $125 to the Clerk of Court.  Unlike the state-court requirements, a lawyer seeking pro hac vice admission does not need to pay the one-time case fee imposed by the KBA for state-court cases.  Additionally, the federal fee is paid when you submit the motion through the court’s electronic filing system.  Accordingly, fee payment and filing of the motion can be completed in one process.

Like the state-court motion, a motion for pro hac vice admission must include specific information.  An affidavit should be attached to the motion with the following statements from the attorney seeking pro hac vice admission:

  • Identification of each bar in which the attorney is a member. Additionally, the attorney must attach a certificate of good standing issued by the highest court of the state in which the attorney is a resident.  The certificate of good standing must be issued no more than ninety (90) days before the filing of the motion.
  • Whether the attorney is currently or has ever been disbarred, suspended from practice, or subject to other disciplinary action by any court, state, territory, or the District of Columbia.
  • That the attorney consents to be subject to the jurisdiction and rules of the Kentucky Supreme Court governing professional conduct.
  • Identification of the method of training completed by the attorney before the use of the Court’s electronic filing system. For those attorneys who have been trained on the federal electronic filing system, we simply state that the attorney “has been trained on the use of the CM/ECF systems by the other federal courts in which he has been admitted to practice and has a working familiarity with CM/ECF systems employed by the federal courts.”

A party’s compliance with the above requirements should pave the way to pro hac vice admission.  It bears mentioning, however, that judges require strict compliance with the admission requirements.  In fact, at a recent “cattle-call” docket, the author of this article observed a judge deny multiple pro hac vice motions for failure to attach the KBA receipt.  Additionally, this office has seen federal judges deny opposing parties motions for pro hac vice admission for failure to attach the requisite certificate of good standing.

If you would like more information about the pro hac vice admission process, or need local counsel in a complex litigation matter, please contact Kyle M. Winslow.  Kyle is a commercial trial attorney in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.

Hemmer DeFrank (1)