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Texas high court allows relocated Katrina attorneys to practice in state

[JURIST] The Texas Supreme Court [official website] has issued an order [text, PDF] allowing lawyers from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama displaced by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] to practice law in Texas for 30 days. The temporary order will put a hold on normal state licensing requirements monitored by the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (UPLC) [official website]. Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright described the decision by saying, "What we're doing is helping people who have been affected by an incredible disaster and at the same time keeping an eye on the integrity of the bar as well." But the 7,500 displaced attorneys do not expect to be able to return to their own states to resume practicing with the month, and representatives from the UPLC and the State Bar of Texas [official website] anticipate that the 30-day order will need to be reevaluated in coming weeks. President Bush also signed legislation last week that enables federal courts in New Orleans to operate outside their district boundaries [JURIST report]. Monday's National Law Journal has more.

Meanwhile, attorneys who were displaced to Georgia can continue to serve their clients for the time being, but those who want to remain permanently will have to take the state bar exam to obtain a license, since reciprocity agreements allowing displaced attorneys to forgo the bar exam do not exist between Georgia and Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. General counsel William P. Smith III of the State Bar of Georgia [official website] has said there are no current plans to allow the hurricane victims to be exempted from the exam. The National Law Journal has more.

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