Kelly A. Knight is an attorney and mediator based in Los Angeles, CAlifornia. He handles matters throughout California.

SB 766: foreign attorneys may represent parties in California mediations, arbitrations, and ADR proceedings related to international commercial disputes

Senate Bill 766 (linked here) was signed by Governor Brown on July 18, 2018, and makes it much easier for out-of-state attorneys to participate in ADR proceedings in California in connection with international commercial disputes.

Under newly enacted Code of Civil Procedure sections 1297.185 through 1297.189, a "qualified" out-of-state attorney "may provide legal services in an international commercial arbitration or related conciliation, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution proceeding," in California so long as the attorney satisfies one of the following criteria:

(1) The services are undertaken in association with an attorney who is admitted to practice in this state and who actively participates in the matter.

(2) The services arise out of or are reasonably related to the attorney’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted to practice.

(3) The services are performed for a client who resides in or has an office in the jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted or otherwise authorized to practice.

(4) The services arise out of or are reasonably related to a matter that has a substantial connection to a jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted or otherwise authorized to practice.

(5) The services arise out of a dispute governed primarily by international law or the law of a foreign or out-of-state jurisdiction.

Civ. Proc. Code § 1297.186(a).

To be "qualified" means that the attorney is not admitted in California but satisfies all of the following: 

(a) Admitted to practice law in a state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia or a member of a recognized legal profession in a foreign jurisdiction, the members of which are admitted or otherwise authorized to practice as attorneys or counselors at law or the equivalent.

(b) Subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or public authority of that jurisdiction. 

(c) In good standing in every jurisdiction in which he or she is admitted or otherwise authorized to practice.

Id. § 1297.185.

Out-of-state attorneys representing clients in a California ADR proceeding under the new law are "subject to the jurisdiction of the courts and disciplinary authority of this state with respect to the California Rules of Professional Conduct and the laws governing the conduct of attorneys to the same extent as a member of the State Bar of California." Id. § 1297.188(a)

There are exceptions to matters that this law applies to. The new law does not apply to disputes involving an individual’s (1) acquisition or lease of goods or services primarily for personal, family, or household use"; (2) "coverage under a health insurance plan or an interaction between an individual and a healthcare provider"; (3) application for employment in California; or (4) "[t]e terms and conditions of, or right to, employment in California, unless the dispute or controversy primarily concerns intellectual property rights, including those involving trademarks, patents, copyright, and software programs." Id. § 1297.186(b).

The new law does not allow out-of-state attorneys to appear in court without following the pre-existing pro hac vice rules (i.e., there is no loosening of the rules for court proceedings). See id. § 1297.187.

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