Let’s say that you live and work in Coeur d’Alene but your work often takes you to Missoula. Going to Missoula is a straight shot right down Interstate 90. On this trip, there’s road construction ahead, and you’re required to slow down to 30 mph. The tractor-trailer behind you failed to slow down though. You’re rear-ended hard, and you’re pushed into the car ahead of you. When the dust from your air bag clears, you come to your senses, and there are sharp pains in your back, and your right leg and foot are also painful. Paramedics come to the scene. They immobilize you, and they take you to the nearest emergency room. You’re later released, and you’re told to see an orthopedist.
You’ll be laid up
Upon returning to Coeur d’Alene, you see an orthopedist who orders an MRI study on your lumbar spine. A herniated disc at L4-L5 spine is found. The injury requires surgery and implantation of hardware to stabilize the joint. You’ll be on the injured reserve list for awhile. The only good news is that there’s a sizeable insurance policy on the truck that hit you. As opposed to some victims, there’s going to be sufficient insurance to cover your injury and damages.
One of the guys you grew up with is a successful personal injury lawyer in Coeur d’Alene, so you called his office for an appointment. When you got to his office, you weren’t very far into the appointment when he picked up the phone and made a call. It was to another personal injury lawyer in Missoula, and he’s referring you to him. Your friend can’t take your case. He’s not licensed to practice law in Montana.
The unauthorized practice of law
The State of Montana takes the unauthorized practice of law very seriously. A license to practice law in Montana is issued by the Montana Supreme Court. A candidate for licensure must have an undergraduate degree, attend a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, pass the Montana Bar exam and be sworn in as an attorney. Continuing legal education is required beyond that. Upon application, an attorney in another state might be admitted to practice law in Montana after five years of practice in his or her home state. Your friend would be participating in the unauthorized practice of law in Montana if he or she:
- Advises or counsels you on Montana law
- Represents you in a lawsuit in a Montana court
Any allegations of the unauthorized practice of law in Montana could have adverse consequences on your friend’s ability to practice law in Idaho. He made the right decision by contacting the personal injury attorney in Missoula. If you’re an Idaho resident who was in an accident in Montana, you’ll need a duly licensed Montana attorney to represent you unless they hold a Montana law license.
Need a lawyer?
If you’re a CDA resident and need a Montana attorney, feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to connect you with a reputable law firm in Montana.