Lafayette, CO asked in Divorce and Family Law for Colorado

Q: Does a law firm have to disclose if an "attorney" is not licensed in the state in which they practice law?

I noticed a small "pending practice" in her email sig. She has not shown up to a hearing 2x which led me to question why. I had some stand in attorney and she did not know my case ( divorce) so i essentially had zero representation.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Christopher N. Little
Christopher N. Little
  • Centennial, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Hi There,

You ask an excellent question and have every right to be concerned. It’s difficult to answer your question without having more information about the specific circumstances. It is important to have counsel and representation that you feel comfortable with. All attorneys at CNL Law Firm, PLLC are licensed and uniquely experienced in Colorado’s domestic relations law.

You can find more information about an attorney’s licensure status through the following link:

Rebecca Pescador agrees with this answer

Chelsea Marie Hillman
Chelsea Marie Hillman
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: I completely understand your concern and I hope you find this answer helpful.

Attorneys must be licensed to practice law in the state where they provide legal services. While each state has its own requirements for licensing, generally it is not permissible for someone to practice law in a state if they are not licensed in that state. There are exceptions though!

In general, a person who has taken the bar exam but has not been admitted to practice law in Colorado is not allowed to represent clients as an attorney in the state. Being admitted to the bar means that the individual has met all the necessary requirements, including passing the bar exam and meeting character and fitness standards, to practice law in that jurisdiction. If a person has taken the bar exam but has not yet been admitted, they may be allowed to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney or engage in other activities related to the legal profession that do not involve representing clients in a legal capacity. It sounds like that is happening here. However -- nothing prevents you from finding a fully licensed attorney to ensure you feel comfortable with your representation.

Firms must disclose if an attorney (or someone who is about to be approved to be an attorney) is not able to practice within the state. So in this circumstance, it sounds like your attorney (license pending) cannot litigate yet, so someone who is licensed has had to fill in. If you are uncomfortable with that form of representation, it may be better to find an attorney who you know is fully licensed to ensure you feel you are being represented in the best way possible.

Michael Joseph Larranaga
Michael Joseph Larranaga pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Parker, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: In most cases here in the state of Colorado, you need a license to practice law. There are multiple exceptions to the rule but you should check into it. This is particularly important for domestic cases since you would normally be in front of a judge. I would find it odd if they did not have some sort of temporary or one-off license. For out-of-state attorneys on a temporary license, they will often have local counsel on the case as well. It could be allot of things.

The Colorado supreme court maintains an attorney registration system. That may be a good place to start.

Please be aware that any answer is based on all the events occurring in Colorado. Further, please be aware that this is not legal advice. This is generic information intended to help the reader develop questions to ask an attorney when they are ready. Each case is different. Anyone reading this answer in need of legal advice should contact an attorney.

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