When Redmon, Peyton & Braswell represents clients in jurisdictions outside of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, we often insist that our clients also retain local counsel. We see this as sound litigation practice, in part because court rules may require an appearance by local counsel, but also because an experienced local trial lawyer understands the workings of the local courts. An experienced local counsel adds real value in nearly every case, but even more so if a case advances to trial.
In reverse, our Firm’s trial lawyers frequently serve as local counsel in cases in both commercial and white collar matters filed in the Alexandria federal court and, at times, in the Virginia state courts, including the Circuit Court for Fairfax County. Indeed, there is a requirement for local counsel in Rules of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Local Rule 83.1(D)(1)(b) provides that “practitioners from another state or the District of Columbia shall be accompanied by a member of the bar of this Court in all appearances before this Court.”
In practice, the Alexandria federal court not only enforces this rule but tends to view the local counsel as the primary contact in a case. LR 83.1(D)(3) states that “no pleading or notice required to be signed by counsel shall be filed unless signed by counsel who shall have been admitted to practice in this Court…“ The LR continues, the “[local counsel] shall have such authority that the Court can deal with the attorney alone in all matters connected with the case.”
Jack Coffey, a past-President of the Federal Bar Association (Alexandria Chapter) and James Kurz serve as local counsel in commercial and IP matters in the Alexandria federal court; Rob Marino, a past-President of the Northern Virginia Bankruptcy Bar Association, serves as local counsel in bankruptcy matters; and Tom Carter, recognized as a SuperLawyer for his criminal defense work, will appear as local counsel in white collar matters in the Alexandria federal court.