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Trial Advocacy

Why do you need local counsel if you’re going pro hac vice?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Personal Injury

Sometimes, clients with high-profile (or high-dollar) cases want to work with an attorney they know or one that has a particular presence in the field, so they ask that attorney to seek pro hac vice admission to litigate in Georgia even though they’re not normally licensed to do so.

Generally speaking, when an attorney appears pro hac vice, they have to have local counsel on board so that the court and opposing counsel always have someone with whom they can easily communicate. The local counsel can also be served with any documents related to the case and facilitate the exchange of documents.

Beyond being present at the attorneys’ table in court and making the exchange of information easier, what does the local counsel do? Does your choice of local counsel matter that much?

You never want your choice of local counsel to be an afterthought

It’s definitely worth it to hire the most experienced and competent local counsel you can find because their insight into the local courts can prove invaluable. Here’s why:

  • Every jurisdiction has its “unwritten rules” that govern the decorum that attorneys are expected to use both inside and outside the courtroom. What’s acceptable in one area of the country may seem too aggressive (or, conversely, not proactive enough) in another.
  • There are unique nuances or quirks in every court system that outside counsel may not anticipate. Without local counsel’s familiarity with the court’s preferences, the case could hit a snag, end up delayed or worse.
  • Your local counsel can give you insight into the judge’s personality, tolerances, standing orders and inclinations, which may be hard to parse from records alone. That can help pro hac vice attorneys better tailor their approach in court.
  • If the case goes to a jury trial, you want local counsel involved because they have much better insight into the opinions and experiences of those in the jury pool – something that is almost impossible for an “outsider” to easily glean.

When you’re litigating in Georgia and you aren’t 100% familiar with the local court system or environment, it pays to find experienced assistance that can help you better navigate the legal waters.