Attorneys

Attorneys in the United States

Contents:

The principal roles in the judicial system are performed by attorneys. All attorneys share the common experience of legal education, which usually means graduation from law school. Law school is a socializing process where prospective attorneys learn the law and become familiar with the expectations and practices of the profession. Law students learn the accepted way of resolving conflicts and legal questions; they learn a preferred approach to thinking and problem solving. They also come to embrace concepts of value to the profession such as adherence to legal precedent or previously decided principles of law. While this process does not affect all law students identically, this socialization process is manifest in virtually every activity an attorney eventually undertakes.

A lawyer engages in one or more kinds of activity in the practice of law. Some attorneys are litigators. That is, they actually take cases to court. While only a small proportion of lawyers try cases, this is a highly visible aspect of the profession. More often, attorneys counsel clients on legal options or represent clients before governmental agencies other than courts or in conflict situations with other parties.

The objective in these instances is to comply with regulations or resolve problems before litigation becomes necessary. Lawyers also protect clients’ interests by developing needed documentation. Most lawyers pursue a private practice. While the proportion has declined over the past several decades, upwards of three-quarters of all lawyers work in private practice. A small segment of this group work in the very large law firms that represent much of the corporate world. Most private practitioners work by themselves or in small groups or partnerships. A minority of lawyers, about 15 percent, work for the government. This number includes lawyers in the executive and legislative branches as well as those associated with the federal and state judicial systems. (1)

Main Topics of Attorneys

This entry in the American Encyclopedia has been organized to address the following topics, among others:

Legal Materials

Sources for background information on U.S. attorneys include :

(1) General Directories. The Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory and FindLaw Lawyer Directory provide information on U.S. and some foreign attorneys. If you want to do more sophisticated searching, these directories are available on Lexis and Westlaw, respectively.

You can find links to other Internet directories through the Internet Legal Research Guide. For even more directories, see the separate entry for “Law Firms.”

If available, you can also check The American Bar and any other available general directory.

NOTE: If an attorney is not listed in one of these directory, he or she may not really be an attorney – check to make sure he/she is licensed to practice, as described under the entry for “Bar Admission.”

(2) Internet Resumes. Lots of firms and law schools post attorney/professor resumes on their Web sites, and many solo attorneys are posting too. Web addresses are generally listed in the print edition of the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory, or you can link to firm Web sites through Internet Legal Resource Guide and FindLaw andMartindale-Hubbell online. If all else fails, try one or two search engines then move on.

(3) Online Rating Networks. Avvo and Lawyer RatingZ are free, online lawyer database that assigns a rating to each attorney covered. Both potentially provide client feedback. Avvo also provides basic biographical information plus disciplinary history.

(4) Specialized Directories. You can check any available specialized directory, such as Who’s Who in American Law, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, Chambers USA, American Bank Attorneys or Directory of Bankruptcy Attorneys. Who’s Who is available on Westlaw (MARQUIS).

If the attorney teaches at a law school, you can check Jurist – The Law Professors’ Directory, the AALS Directory of Law Teachers, and/or the “Law Schools” section of Martindale-Hubbell.

Some practice groups have their own specialized directories, such as World Trademark Review 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals.

Some regions have their own specialized directories too, such as Washington’s Best Lawyers by The Washingtonian. Best Lawyers publishes several city-specific newspaper inserts sometimes called “Top Rated Lawyers” (see e.g. here).

If the attorney works for a corporation, see the “Corporate Counsel” section of the Company Personnel entry.

Attorneys who work for colleges and university are listed in the NACUA Directory of Membership and Services, published by the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

(6) News Databases. Search for the attorney’s name in a legal news database on Lexis(LGLNWS or, if the attorney was recently admitted, CURNWS) or Westlaw. If you feel it’s warranted, use a non-legal or broader News database, or another database vendor (e.g., Factiva).

(7) Case Databases. Search for the attorney as counsel in relevant judicial opinion databases on Lexis (e.g., MEGA;MEGA), Westlaw (ALLCASES), LOIS or Versuslaw. If you find any cases that seem particularly relevant to the situation at hand, you might also want to get the attorney’s briefs.

(8) Verdicts and Settlements Databases. Search for the attorney’s name on Lexis(VERDCT;ALLVER) or Westlaw (JV-ALL).

(9) Article Indexes and Library Catalogs. You can search for articles written by the attorney in the Current Law Index (a/k/a the Legal Resource Index) and/or the Index to Legal Periodicals, as well as any other index focusing on the attorney’s specialty.

To find books, you can search OCLC’s WorldCat. Or search the online catalogs posted by the Library of Congress, Harvard University or another library likely to hold any books written by the attorney in question.

More about Attorneys

Bar Admission: See “Bar Admission.”

Billing Rates: See “Law Firms.”

Compensation: See “Compensation.”

Hard-to-Find Attorneys: If the directories listed above don’t work, see “Bar Admission.” Most Bar listings give an address and phone number for attorneys admitted in a given state. If that doesn’t work, see “Finding People.”

Note: If you need the home address of an attorney with a common name, get the attorney’s birth date from Martindale-Hubbell, the West Legal Directory or another source and compare it with a searches on Accurint or whichever people finder you prefer (see “Finding People”).

Disciplinary Records: Some states post the names of disciplined attorneys on the Internet, including California, the District of Columbia since 1979, Maryland since 2003, New Jersey since 1990, and Virginia; see Legal Dockets Online for more links. Otherwise you can call the relevant state disciplinary authority. The names and numbers of the relevant authorities are posted by the ABA. In New York, call the department where the attorney is admitted (e.g., 1st Dept. 212-779-1779; 2nd Dept. 718-875-1300). In Maryland, call the Court of Appeals (410-260-1500) or the Attorney Grievance Commission (800-492-1660 or 410-514-7051).

To see if an attorney has been subject to disciplinary proceedings anywhere in the U.S., place a request with the ABA’s National Lawyer Regulatory Data Bank.

In some U.S. states (the example is from Maryland), discipline orders are issued by the Court of Appeals. If there is an opinion, the opinion is published along with the Court’s other opinions, with a docket number such as “AG No. xx” (see “Maryland — Judicial Branch”). If there is no opinion, you can get a copy of the order by calling the Court of Appeals (410-260-1500).

In-House Counsel: See the entry for “Company Personnel.”

Statistics About Attorneys: Statistics relating to attorneys and the practice of law are collected and posted by the Legal Profession Statistics section of the ABA web site.

DHS Attorney in Immigration Law

In this area of law, DHS Attorney means: A term sometimes used to refer to an Assistant Chief Counsel in Immigration Court.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Attorneys from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

See Also

  • Legal Profession
  • Private Practice
  • Attorneys Fees
  • Prosecuting Attorneys
  • Code Of Professional Responsibility
  • Pro Bono Publico
  • United States Lawyers Associations
  • Courtroom Work Group
  • Legal Counsel
  • Lawyer-Client Relationship
  • United States Attorney
  • Bar Admission Briefs
  • Compensation
  • Company Personnel
  • Finding People
  • Judges
  • Law Firms
  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Malpractice

Further Reading

Attorneys in relation to Immigration Courts

(information based on the DoJ Manual)

Right to counsel

An Alien (person who is not a citizen or national of the United States) in immigration proceedings may be represented by an attorney of his or her choosing, at no cost to the government. Unlike in criminal proceedings, the government is not obligated to provide legal counsel. The Immigration Court provides aliens with a list of attorneys who may be willing to represent aliens for little or no cost, and many of these attorneys handle cases on appeal as well. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Legal service providers. Bar associations and nonprofit agencies can also refer aliens to practicing attorneys.

Qualifications

An attorney may practice before the Immigration Court only if he or she is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, possession, territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia, and is not under any order suspending, enjoining, restraining, disbarring, or otherwise restricting him or her in the practice of law. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. §§ 1001.1(f), 1292.1(a)(1). Any attorney practicing before the Immigration Court who is the subject of such discipline in any jurisdiction must promptly notify the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of the General Counsel. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Duty to Report. In addition, an attorney must be registered with EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) in order to practice before the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f), and eRegistry), below.

eRegistry

An attorney must register with the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) eRegistry in order to practice before the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f). Registration must be completed online on the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) website .

Administrative suspension

If an attorney fails to register, he or she may be administratively suspended from practice before the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f). Multiple attempts by an unregistered attorney to appear before EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) may result in disciplinary sanctions. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.101(b).

Appearance by unregistered attorney

An Immigration Judge may, under extraordinary and rare circumstances, permit an unregistered attorney to appear at one hearing if the attorney files a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28), and provides, on the record, the following registration information: name; date of birth; business address(es); business telephone number(s); e-mail address; and bar admission information (including bar number if applicable) for all the jurisdictions in which the attorney is licensed to practice, including those in which he or she is inactive. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f). An unregistered attorney who is permitted to appear at one hearing in such circumstances must complete the electronic registration process without delay after that hearing.

Appearances

Attorneys must enter an appearance before the Immigration Court by filing a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.17(a), 1003.23(b)(1)(ii). A Form EOIR-28 may be filed in one of two ways: either as an electronic Form EOIR-28, or as a paper Form EOIR-28. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Entering an appearance. A Form EOIR-28 should always be filed in the situations described in Entering an appearance. If a paper Form EOIR-28 is submitted with other documents, the Form EOIR-28 should be at the front of the package. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Format. It should not be included as an exhibit, as part of an exhibit, or with other supporting materials. In addition, whether filed electronically or on paper, the Form EOIR-28 must be served on the opposing party. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Service on the Opposing Party. If information is omitted from the Form EOIR-28 or it is not properly completed, the attorney’s appearance may not be recognized, and the accompanying filing may be rejected.

Form EOIR-28

When filing Form EOIR-28 on paper rather than electronically, attorneys should use the most current version of the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28), which can be found on the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) website . See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) also Forms. The use of green paper when filing a paper Form EOIR-28 is strongly encouraged. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Form colors. Attorneys should observe the distinction between the Immigration Courts’ Notice of Appearance (Form EOIR-28) and the Board of Immigration Appeal’s Notice of Appearance (Form EOIR-27). The Immigration Courts will not recognize an attorney based on a Form EOIR-27, whether filed with the Board or the Immigration Court. Accordingly, when a case is remanded from the Board to the Immigration Court, the attorney must file a new Form EOIR-28.

Attorney information

The Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) must bear an individual attorney’s current address and the attorney’s signature in compliance with the requirements of Signatures(see in the Encyclopedia). When filing a paper Form EOIR-28, all information required on the form, including the date, should be typed or printed clearly. Note that the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) ID number issued by EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) through the eRegistry process must be provided on the Form EOIR-28.

Bar information

When an attorney is a member of a state bar which has a state bar number or corresponding court number, the attorney must provide that number on the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). If the attorney has been admitted to more than one state bar, each and every state bar to which the attorney has ever been admitted–including states in which the attorney is no longer an active member or has been suspended, expelled, or disbarred–must be listed and the state bar number, if any, provided.

Disciplinary information

The box regarding attorney bar membership and disciplinary action on the Form EOIR-28 must only be checked if the attorney is not subject to any order disbarring, suspending, or otherwise restricting him or her in the practice of law. If the attorney is subject to discipline, then the attorney must provide information on the back of the form. (Attorneys may attach an explanatory supplement or other documentation to the form.) An attorney who fails to provide discipline information will not be recognized by the Immigration Court and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Scope of representation

When filing a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) an attorney must check the box indicating whether the entry of appearance is for all proceedings, custody and bond proceedings only, or all proceedings other than custody and bond proceedings. Once an attorney has made an appearance, that attorney has an obligation to continue representation until such time as a motion to withdraw or substitute counsel has been granted by the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Change in representation. When an attorney wishes to change the scope of his or her appearance in a particular case, the attorney or representative must file a new Form EOIR-28 and, if necessary, a motion to withdraw or substitute counsel. For example:

  • If an attorney previously filed a Form EOIR-28 and checked the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for custody and bond proceedings only, and the attorney later wishes to represent the same alien in removal proceedings as well, the attorney must file a new Form EOIR-28 and check the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for all proceedings.
  • If an attorney previously filed a Form EOIR-28 and checked the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for all proceedings, and the attorney later no longer wishes to represent the alien in removal proceedings but does wish to continue representing the alien in custody and bond proceedings only, the attorney must file a motion to withdraw from the removal proceedings as well as a new Form EOIR-28 in which the attorney has checked the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for custody and bond proceedings only.

Multiple representatives

Sometimes, an alien may retain more than one attorney at a time. In such cases, all of the attorneys are representatives of record, and will all be held responsible as attorneys for the respondent. One of the attorneys is recognized as the primary attorney (notice attorney). All of the attorneys must file Notices of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28), checking the appropriate box to reflect whether the attorney is the primary attorney or a non-primary attorney. All submissions to the Immigration Court must bear the name of one of the representatives of record and be signed by that attorney. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) above. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) also Signatures.

Law firms

Only individuals, not firms or offices, may represent parties before the Immigration Court. In every instance of representation, a named attorney must enter an appearance to act as an attorney of record. In addition, all filings must be signed by an attorney of record. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Signatures. Accordingly, the Immigration Court does not recognize appearances or accept pleadings, motions, briefs, or other filings submitted by a law firm, law office, or other entity if the name and signature of an attorney of record is not included. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) subsection above. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) also (Law firms. If, at any time, more than one attorney represents an alien, one of the attorneys must be designated as the primary attorney (notice attorney). See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) above.

Change in firm

In the event that an attorney departs a law firm but wishes to continue representing the alien, the attorney must promptly file a new Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). The new Notice of Appearance must reflect any change of address and apprize the Immigration Court of his or her change in affiliation. The attorney should check the “new address” box in the address block of the new Form EOIR-28, which must be served on the opposing party. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Service on the Opposing Party.

Change in attorney

If the attorney of record leaves a law firm but the law firm wishes to retain the case, another attorney in the firm must file a motion for substitution of counsel. Similarly, if a law firm wishes to reassign responsibility for a case from one attorney to another attorney in the firm, the new attorney must file a motion for substitution of counsel. Until such time as a motion for substitution of counsel is granted, the original attorney remains the alien’s attorney and is responsible for the case. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) below.

Service upon counsel

Service of papers upon counsel of a represented party constitutes service on the represented party. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.5(a), and Representatives and service.

Address obligations of counsel

Attorneys who enter an appearance before the Immigration Court have an affirmative duty to keep the Immigration Court apprised of their current address and telephone number. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.15(d)(2). Changes in counsel’s address or telephone number should be made by updating the attorney’s registration information in the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) eRegistry to include the new address and telephone number. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) eRegistry. In addition, once the new address is added to the attorney’s registration information, the attorney must submit a new electronic or paper Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) for each alien for which the attorney address is being changed. If an attorney has multiple addresses, the attorney should make sure that the appropriate attorney address is designated for each alien. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Appearances. The attorney also should check the “New Address” box in the address block on the Form EOIR-28. The attorney should not submit an Alien’s Change of Address Form (Form EOIRB33/IC) to notify the Immigration Court of a change in the attorney’s address.

No compound changes of address

An attorney may not simply submit a list of clients for whom his or her change of address should be entered. Attorneys must submit a new electronic or paper Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) for each alien he or she represents.

Address obligations of represented aliens

Even when an alien is represented, the alien is still responsible for keeping the Immigration Court apprised of his or her address and telephone number. Changes of address or telephone number for the alien may not be made on the Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) but must be made on the Alien’s Change of Address Form (Form EOIR-33/IC). See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Address obligations.

Change in representation

Changes in representation may be made as described below.

Substitution of counsel

When an alien wishes to substitute a new attorney for a previous attorney, the new attorney must submit a written or oral motion for substitution of counsel, accompanied by a Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). The new attorney must file a paper Form EOIR-28, not an electronic Form EOIR-28. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.17(b), and Entering an appearance. If in writing, the motion should be filed with a cover page labeled “MOTION FOR SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL” and comply with the deadlines and requirements for filing. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Filing with the Immigration Court and Sample Cover Page. The motion should contain the following information:

  • whether the motion to substitute counsel is for all proceedings, custody and bond proceedings only, or all proceedings other than custody and bond proceedings
  • the reason(s) for the substitution of counsel, in conformance with applicable state bar and other ethical rules
  • evidence that prior counsel has been notified about the motion for substitution of counsel
  • evidence of the alien’s consent to the substitution of counsel If the motion is in writing, the new counsel should serve a copy of the motion and executed Form EOIR-28 on prior counsel as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

A Proof of Service of the motion and Form EOIR-28 on prior counsel is sufficient to show that prior counsel has been notified about the motion to substitute counsel. In adjudicating a motion for substitution of counsel, the time remaining before the next hearing and the reason(s) given for the substitution are taken into consideration. Extension requests based on substitution of counsel are not favored. If a motion for substitution of counsel is granted, prior counsel need not file a motion to withdraw. However, until a motion for substitution of counsel is granted, the original counsel remains the alien’s attorney of record and must appear at all scheduled hearings. The granting of a motion for substitution of counsel does not constitute a continuance of a scheduled hearing. Accordingly, parties must be prepared to proceed at the next scheduled hearing.

Withdrawal of counsel

When an attorney wishes to withdraw from representing an alien, and the alien has not obtained a new attorney, the attorney must submit a written or oral motion to withdraw. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.17(b). If in writing, the motion should be filed with a cover page labeled “MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL” and comply with the deadlines and requirements for filing. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Filing with the Immigration Court, Sample Cover Page. The motion should contain the following information:

  • whether the motion to withdraw is for all proceedings, custody and bond proceedings only, or all proceedings other than custody and bond proceedings
  • the reason(s) for the withdrawal of counsel, in conformance with applicable state bar or other ethical rules
  • the last known address of the alien
  • a statement that the attorney has notified the alien of the request to withdraw as counsel or, if the alien could not be notified, an explanation of the efforts made to notify the alien of the request
  • evidence of the alien’s consent to withdraw or a statement of why evidence of such consent is unobtainable
  • evidence that the attorney notified or attempted to notify the alien, with a recitation of specific efforts made, of pending deadlines; the date, time, and place of the next scheduled hearing; the necessity of meeting deadlines and appearing at scheduled hearings; and the consequences of failing to meet deadlines or appear at scheduled hearings In adjudicating a motion to withdraw, the time remaining before the next hearing and the reason(s) given for the withdrawal are taken into consideration.

Until a motion to withdraw is granted, the attorney who filed the motion remains the alien’s attorney of record and must attend all scheduled hearings.

Release of counsel

When an alien elects to terminate representation by counsel, the counsel remains the attorney of record until the Immigration Judge has granted either a motion for substitution of counsel or a motion to withdraw, as appropriate. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) above.

Appearances “on behalf of.”

Appearances “on behalf of” occur when a second attorney appears on behalf of the attorney of record at a specific hearing before the Immigration Court. The attorney making the appearance need not work at the same firm as the attorney of record. Appearances “on behalf of” are permitted as described below. First, the attorney making the appearance must notify the Immigration Judge on the record that he or she is appearing on behalf of the attorney of record. Second, the attorney making the appearance must file a Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) with the Immigration Court and serve it on the opposing party. The attorney must file a paper Form EOIR-28, not an electronic Form EOIR-28. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Entering an appearance. The attorney must check the box on the Form EOIR-28 indicating that he or she is making an appearance on behalf of the attorney of record and fill in the name of the attorney of record. Third, the appearance on behalf of the attorney of record must be authorized by the Immigration Judge. At the hearing, the attorney making the appearance may file documents on behalf of the alien. The attorney making the appearance cannot file documents on behalf of the alien at any other time. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Signatures and Service on the Opposing Party. The attorney of record need not file a new Form EOIR-28 after the hearing.

Attorney misconduct

The Executive Office for Immigration Review has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions upon attorneys and representatives who violate rules of professional conduct before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Immigration Courts, and the Department of Homeland Security. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Discipline of Practitioners. Where an attorney in a case has been suspended from practice before the Immigration Court and the alien has not retained new counsel, the Immigration Court treats the alien as unrepresented. In such a case, all mailings from the Immigration Court, including notices of hearing and orders, are mailed directly to the alien. Any filing from an attorney who has been suspended from practice before the Immigration Court is rejected. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Defective filings.

Attorneys in relation to Immigration Courts

(information based on the DoJ Manual)

Right to counsel

An Alien (person who is not a citizen or national of the United States) in immigration proceedings may be represented by an attorney of his or her choosing, at no cost to the government. Unlike in criminal proceedings, the government is not obligated to provide legal counsel. The Immigration Court provides aliens with a list of attorneys who may be willing to represent aliens for little or no cost, and many of these attorneys handle cases on appeal as well. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Legal service providers. Bar associations and nonprofit agencies can also refer aliens to practicing attorneys.

Qualifications

An attorney may practice before the Immigration Court only if he or she is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, possession, territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia, and is not under any order suspending, enjoining, restraining, disbarring, or otherwise restricting him or her in the practice of law. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. §§ 1001.1(f), 1292.1(a)(1). Any attorney practicing before the Immigration Court who is the subject of such discipline in any jurisdiction must promptly notify the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of the General Counsel. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Duty to Report. In addition, an attorney must be registered with EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) in order to practice before the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f), and eRegistry), below.

eRegistry

An attorney must register with the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) eRegistry in order to practice before the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f). Registration must be completed online on the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) website .

Administrative suspension

If an attorney fails to register, he or she may be administratively suspended from practice before the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f). Multiple attempts by an unregistered attorney to appear before EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) may result in disciplinary sanctions. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.101(b).

Appearance by unregistered attorney

An Immigration Judge may, under extraordinary and rare circumstances, permit an unregistered attorney to appear at one hearing if the attorney files a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28), and provides, on the record, the following registration information: name; date of birth; business address(es); business telephone number(s); e-mail address; and bar admission information (including bar number if applicable) for all the jurisdictions in which the attorney is licensed to practice, including those in which he or she is inactive. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(f). An unregistered attorney who is permitted to appear at one hearing in such circumstances must complete the electronic registration process without delay after that hearing.

Appearances

Attorneys must enter an appearance before the Immigration Court by filing a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.17(a), 1003.23(b)(1)(ii). A Form EOIR-28 may be filed in one of two ways: either as an electronic Form EOIR-28, or as a paper Form EOIR-28. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Entering an appearance. A Form EOIR-28 should always be filed in the situations described in Entering an appearance. If a paper Form EOIR-28 is submitted with other documents, the Form EOIR-28 should be at the front of the package. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Format. It should not be included as an exhibit, as part of an exhibit, or with other supporting materials. In addition, whether filed electronically or on paper, the Form EOIR-28 must be served on the opposing party. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Service on the Opposing Party. If information is omitted from the Form EOIR-28 or it is not properly completed, the attorney’s appearance may not be recognized, and the accompanying filing may be rejected.

Form EOIR-28

When filing Form EOIR-28 on paper rather than electronically, attorneys should use the most current version of the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28), which can be found on the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) website . See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) also Forms. The use of green paper when filing a paper Form EOIR-28 is strongly encouraged. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Form colors. Attorneys should observe the distinction between the Immigration Courts’ Notice of Appearance (Form EOIR-28) and the Board of Immigration Appeal’s Notice of Appearance (Form EOIR-27). The Immigration Courts will not recognize an attorney based on a Form EOIR-27, whether filed with the Board or the Immigration Court. Accordingly, when a case is remanded from the Board to the Immigration Court, the attorney must file a new Form EOIR-28.

Attorney information

The Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) must bear an individual attorney’s current address and the attorney’s signature in compliance with the requirements of Signatures(see in the Encyclopedia). When filing a paper Form EOIR-28, all information required on the form, including the date, should be typed or printed clearly. Note that the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) ID number issued by EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) through the eRegistry process must be provided on the Form EOIR-28.

Bar information

When an attorney is a member of a state bar which has a state bar number or corresponding court number, the attorney must provide that number on the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). If the attorney has been admitted to more than one state bar, each and every state bar to which the attorney has ever been admitted–including states in which the attorney is no longer an active member or has been suspended, expelled, or disbarred–must be listed and the state bar number, if any, provided.

Disciplinary information

The box regarding attorney bar membership and disciplinary action on the Form EOIR-28 must only be checked if the attorney is not subject to any order disbarring, suspending, or otherwise restricting him or her in the practice of law. If the attorney is subject to discipline, then the attorney must provide information on the back of the form. (Attorneys may attach an explanatory supplement or other documentation to the form.) An attorney who fails to provide discipline information will not be recognized by the Immigration Court and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Scope of representation

When filing a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) an attorney must check the box indicating whether the entry of appearance is for all proceedings, custody and bond proceedings only, or all proceedings other than custody and bond proceedings. Once an attorney has made an appearance, that attorney has an obligation to continue representation until such time as a motion to withdraw or substitute counsel has been granted by the Immigration Court. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Change in representation. When an attorney wishes to change the scope of his or her appearance in a particular case, the attorney or representative must file a new Form EOIR-28 and, if necessary, a motion to withdraw or substitute counsel. For example:

  • If an attorney previously filed a Form EOIR-28 and checked the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for custody and bond proceedings only, and the attorney later wishes to represent the same alien in removal proceedings as well, the attorney must file a new Form EOIR-28 and check the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for all proceedings.
  • If an attorney previously filed a Form EOIR-28 and checked the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for all proceedings, and the attorney later no longer wishes to represent the alien in removal proceedings but does wish to continue representing the alien in custody and bond proceedings only, the attorney must file a motion to withdraw from the removal proceedings as well as a new Form EOIR-28 in which the attorney has checked the box indicating that the entry of appearance is for custody and bond proceedings only.

Multiple representatives

Sometimes, an alien may retain more than one attorney at a time. In such cases, all of the attorneys are representatives of record, and will all be held responsible as attorneys for the respondent. One of the attorneys is recognized as the primary attorney (notice attorney). All of the attorneys must file Notices of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28), checking the appropriate box to reflect whether the attorney is the primary attorney or a non-primary attorney. All submissions to the Immigration Court must bear the name of one of the representatives of record and be signed by that attorney. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) above. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) also Signatures.

Law firms

Only individuals, not firms or offices, may represent parties before the Immigration Court. In every instance of representation, a named attorney must enter an appearance to act as an attorney of record. In addition, all filings must be signed by an attorney of record. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Signatures. Accordingly, the Immigration Court does not recognize appearances or accept pleadings, motions, briefs, or other filings submitted by a law firm, law office, or other entity if the name and signature of an attorney of record is not included. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) subsection above. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) also (Law firms. If, at any time, more than one attorney represents an alien, one of the attorneys must be designated as the primary attorney (notice attorney). See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) above.

Change in firm

In the event that an attorney departs a law firm but wishes to continue representing the alien, the attorney must promptly file a new Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). The new Notice of Appearance must reflect any change of address and apprize the Immigration Court of his or her change in affiliation. The attorney should check the ?new address? box in the address block of the new Form EOIR-28, which must be served on the opposing party. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Service on the Opposing Party.

Change in attorney

If the attorney of record leaves a law firm but the law firm wishes to retain the case, another attorney in the firm must file a motion for substitution of counsel. Similarly, if a law firm wishes to reassign responsibility for a case from one attorney to another attorney in the firm, the new attorney must file a motion for substitution of counsel. Until such time as a motion for substitution of counsel is granted, the original attorney remains the alien’s attorney and is responsible for the case. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) below.

Service upon counsel

Service of papers upon counsel of a represented party constitutes service on the represented party. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1292.5(a), and Representatives and service.

Address obligations of counsel

Attorneys who enter an appearance before the Immigration Court have an affirmative duty to keep the Immigration Court apprised of their current address and telephone number. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.15(d)(2). Changes in counsel’s address or telephone number should be made by updating the attorney’s registration information in the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) eRegistry to include the new address and telephone number. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) eRegistry. In addition, once the new address is added to the attorney’s registration information, the attorney must submit a new electronic or paper Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) for each alien for which the attorney address is being changed. If an attorney has multiple addresses, the attorney should make sure that the appropriate attorney address is designated for each alien. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Appearances. The attorney also should check the ?New Address? box in the address block on the Form EOIR-28. The attorney should not submit an Alien’s Change of Address Form (Form EOIRB33/IC) to notify the Immigration Court of a change in the attorney’s address.

No compound changes of address

An attorney may not simply submit a list of clients for whom his or her change of address should be entered. Attorneys must submit a new electronic or paper Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) for each alien he or she represents.

Address obligations of represented aliens

Even when an alien is represented, the alien is still responsible for keeping the Immigration Court apprised of his or her address and telephone number. Changes of address or telephone number for the alien may not be made on the Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) but must be made on the Alien’s Change of Address Form (Form EOIR-33/IC). See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Address obligations.

Change in representation

Changes in representation may be made as described below.

Substitution of counsel

When an alien wishes to substitute a new attorney for a previous attorney, the new attorney must submit a written or oral motion for substitution of counsel, accompanied by a Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28). The new attorney must file a paper Form EOIR-28, not an electronic Form EOIR-28. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.17(b), and Entering an appearance. If in writing, the motion should be filed with a cover page labeled ?MOTION FOR SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL? and comply with the deadlines and requirements for filing. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Filing with the Immigration Court and Sample Cover Page. The motion should contain the following information:

  • whether the motion to substitute counsel is for all proceedings, custody and bond proceedings only, or all proceedings other than custody and bond proceedings
  • the reason(s) for the substitution of counsel, in conformance with applicable state bar and other ethical rules
  • evidence that prior counsel has been notified about the motion for substitution of counsel
  • evidence of the alien’s consent to the substitution of counsel If the motion is in writing, the new counsel should serve a copy of the motion and executed Form EOIR-28 on prior counsel as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

A Proof of Service of the motion and Form EOIR-28 on prior counsel is sufficient to show that prior counsel has been notified about the motion to substitute counsel. In adjudicating a motion for substitution of counsel, the time remaining before the next hearing and the reason(s) given for the substitution are taken into consideration. Extension requests based on substitution of counsel are not favored. If a motion for substitution of counsel is granted, prior counsel need not file a motion to withdraw. However, until a motion for substitution of counsel is granted, the original counsel remains the alien’s attorney of record and must appear at all scheduled hearings. The granting of a motion for substitution of counsel does not constitute a continuance of a scheduled hearing. Accordingly, parties must be prepared to proceed at the next scheduled hearing.

Withdrawal of counsel

When an attorney wishes to withdraw from representing an alien, and the alien has not obtained a new attorney, the attorney must submit a written or oral motion to withdraw. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) 8 C.F.R. § 1003.17(b). If in writing, the motion should be filed with a cover page labeled ?MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL? and comply with the deadlines and requirements for filing. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Filing with the Immigration Court, Sample Cover Page. The motion should contain the following information:

  • whether the motion to withdraw is for all proceedings, custody and bond proceedings only, or all proceedings other than custody and bond proceedings
  • the reason(s) for the withdrawal of counsel, in conformance with applicable state bar or other ethical rules
  • the last known address of the alien
  • a statement that the attorney has notified the alien of the request to withdraw as counsel or, if the alien could not be notified, an explanation of the efforts made to notify the alien of the request
  • evidence of the alien’s consent to withdraw or a statement of why evidence of such consent is unobtainable
  • evidence that the attorney notified or attempted to notify the alien, with a recitation of specific efforts made, of pending deadlines; the date, time, and place of the next scheduled hearing; the necessity of meeting deadlines and appearing at scheduled hearings; and the consequences of failing to meet deadlines or appear at scheduled hearings In adjudicating a motion to withdraw, the time remaining before the next hearing and the reason(s) given for the withdrawal are taken into consideration.

Until a motion to withdraw is granted, the attorney who filed the motion remains the alien’s attorney of record and must attend all scheduled hearings.

Release of counsel

When an alien elects to terminate representation by counsel, the counsel remains the attorney of record until the Immigration Judge has granted either a motion for substitution of counsel or a motion to withdraw, as appropriate. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) above.

Appearances ?on behalf of.?

Appearances ?on behalf of? occur when a second attorney appears on behalf of the attorney of record at a specific hearing before the Immigration Court. The attorney making the appearance need not work at the same firm as the attorney of record. Appearances ?on behalf of? are permitted as described below. First, the attorney making the appearance must notify the Immigration Judge on the record that he or she is appearing on behalf of the attorney of record. Second, the attorney making the appearance must file a Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court (Form EOIR-28) with the Immigration Court and serve it on the opposing party. The attorney must file a paper Form EOIR-28, not an electronic Form EOIR-28. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Entering an appearance. The attorney must check the box on the Form EOIR-28 indicating that he or she is making an appearance on behalf of the attorney of record and fill in the name of the attorney of record. Third, the appearance on behalf of the attorney of record must be authorized by the Immigration Judge. At the hearing, the attorney making the appearance may file documents on behalf of the alien. The attorney making the appearance cannot file documents on behalf of the alien at any other time. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Signatures and Service on the Opposing Party. The attorney of record need not file a new Form EOIR-28 after the hearing.

Attorney misconduct

The Executive Office for Immigration Review has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions upon attorneys and representatives who violate rules of professional conduct before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Immigration Courts, and the Department of Homeland Security. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Discipline of Practitioners. Where an attorney in a case has been suspended from practice before the Immigration Court and the alien has not retained new counsel, the Immigration Court treats the alien as unrepresented. In such a case, all mailings from the Immigration Court, including notices of hearing and orders, are mailed directly to the alien. Any filing from an attorney who has been suspended from practice before the Immigration Court is rejected. See (in this American law platform, in relation to immigration courts and judges) Defective filings.

Attorneys: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Attorneys. This part provides references, in relation to Attorneys, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Attorneys by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Attorneys and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Attorneys or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Attorneys and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Attorneys. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Attorneys should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Attorneys when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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