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Attorney Resources FAQs

Can an attorney who is not designated as local counsel electronically file the document in CM/ECF for local counsel (meaning another attorney files the motion in CM/ECF under the local counsel’s login/password)?

Only the designated local counsel can electronically file the motion in CM/ECF. However,
Section 3C of the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, allows the designated local counsel to
“authorize” an employee of his/her office to use their password, but local counsel is ultimately
“responsible for all documents filed with their passwords, whether by Users or any other
person.”

Can I file as a PHV attorney when my bar membership in this Court is not in good standing due to my Florida Bar membership either being suspended or otherwise being designated as not eligible to practice law in Florida?

No. Rule 4(b)(1) of the Rules Governing the Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline
of Attorneys prohibits attorneys seeking admission pro hac vice while also being admitted
to practice in the Southern District of Florida.

Can the PHV attorney electronically sign their certification and/or the motion to appear PHV or does it have to be a wet signature?

The certification and/or PHV Motion can be electronically signed by the PHV attorney, but the
motion itself must be filed by the designated local counsel. Pursuant to Section 3J(1) and (2) of
the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, “[a] document requiring an attorney’s signature that is
filed electronically using his/her login and password shall be considered signed when the
attorney’s name is on the signature block,” and this applies to those documents “that
require original signatures or that require either verification or a sworn declaration.”

Does local counsel have to appear at hearings?

Pursuant to 28 United States Code § 955, the Clerk's Office staff is prohibited from giving information which may be characterized as legal advice. Whether or not designated local counsel has to appear at hearings would require an interpretation of the applicable rules governing attorney admission and pro hac vice status, which the Clerk’s Office is without authority to do so. We recommend you review Rule 4 of the Rules Governing the Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline of Attorneys and consult the judge presiding in your case.

Does the certificate of service have to be signed by local counsel?

Pursuant to Section 3K(4) of the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures, “[n]o certificate of service
is required when a party files a document electronically unless the document is served other than
through CM/ECF.”

How do I file pro hac vice?

Pursuant to Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing the Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline of Attorneys:

(b) Appearance Pro Hac Vice

(1) An attorney who is a member in good standing of the bar of any United States Court, or of the highest Court of any State or Territory or Insular Possession of the United States, but is not admitted to practice in the Southern District of Florida may, upon submission of a pro hac vice motion served by co-counsel admitted to practice in this District, be permitted to appear and participate in a particular case.  A certification that the applicant has studied the Local Rules shall accompany the pro hac vice motion together with such appearance fee as may be required by administrative order.  If permission to appear pro hac vice is granted, such appearance shall not constitute formal admission or authorize the attorney to file documents via CM/ECF.

(2) Lawyers who are not members of the bar of this Court shall not be permitted to engage in general practice in this District.  For purposes of this rule, the filing of more than three motions to appear pro hac vice within a 365-day period in separate representations before the Courts of this District shall be presumed to be a “general practice.”  Upon written motion and for good cause shown the Court may waive or modify this prohibition.

(3) The pro hac vice motion shall designate at least one member of the bar of this Court and who is authorized to file through the Court’s electronic filing system, with whom the Court and opposing counsel may readily communicate regarding the conduct of the case, upon whom filings shall be served, and who shall be required to electronically file and serve all documents and things that may be filed and served electronically, and who shall be responsible for filing and serving documents in compliance with the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures.  See Section 2B of the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures.  The pro hac vice motion must be accompanied by a written statement consenting to the designation, and the address and telephone number of the named designee(s).  Upon written motion and for good cause shown the Court may waive or modify the requirements of such designation.

Effective December 1, 1994.  Amended effective Jan. 1, 1996; April 15, 2007; April 15, 2010; December 1, 2014; December 1, 2015; December 1, 2017; December 3, 2018.

A sample motion is located on our website [http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/pro-hac-vice-appearance].

How do I remove an attorney on a given case?

A document explaining who is being removed or substituted and why must be created and converted into a PDF format. Since all changes in representation must be approved by the Court, a Motion to Withdraw as Attorney or Motion to Substitute Attorney needs to be submitted. Once you log in to CM/ECF, you can select the appropriate event under “Motions and Related Filings”.

When the Clerk’s Office sees that this motion has been approved by the Court, they will remove the attorney from the case. Until this is completed, the Court will still consider the attorney as a participant in the case and the system will continue to send him/her the notifications.

 

How do I update my email information within the CM/ECF system?

You can easily update your email address in CM/ECF by selecting the “Utilities” feature from the blue menu bar and then select the “Maintain Your Account” link. Once you select the “Email Information” button, you can edit your email address. When you are done, click on the “Return to Person Information Screen” then click “Submit” and then “Submit” a second time. Please see Updating Your Information under Attorney Resources.

Note: The Clerk’s Office is not responsible for updating email addresses, telephone or fax numbers for CM/ECF Users. If you are a member of the Southern District of Florida Bar and you have not registered for CM/ECF, your email address will not be added to the CM/ECF System.

If I am not a member of this Court’s Bar & do not reside or practice within this District but am a FL Bar member whose membership has either been suspended or otherwise designated as not eligible to practice law in FL, may I apply as a PHV in this Court?

Yes, so long as you retain membership in “good standing of the bar of any United States Court,
or of the highest Court of any State or Territory or Insular Possession of the United States.” Rule
4(b)(1), Rules Governing the Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline of Attorneys.

If more than one attorney's name appears in the signature block, do all attorneys in the signature block have to consent to designation as local counsel?

No. Rule 4(b)(3) of the Rules Governing the Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline
of Attorneys requires that the pro hac vice motion “designate at least one member of the bar of
this Court . . . who is authorized to file through the Court’s electronic filing system . . . .
accompanied by a written statement consenting to the designation.” The Rule only requires the
designation of “at least one” who is a member of the bar of this Court. However, only the
movant who designates the local counsel and only the local counsel so designated who files the
motion may appear pro hac vice and act as designated counsel, respectively, once the motion is
granted.

If not, and there is more than one attorney's name in the signature block, does the motion have to be signed by local counsel or can one of the attorneys listed in the signature block sign the documents?

Any attorney can sign the documents so long as they are filed by the designated local counsel.
Section 3C of the CM/ECF Administrative Procedures provides that “[w]hen a User files a
document electronically using his/her login and password, that document shall be considered
signed by the attorney to whom the login and password were issued.”

What should be done when an attorney leaves the firm?

When an attorney leaves the firm, both the attorney and the firm need to consider the implications to the CM/ECF noticing system. For those cases that will remain with the attorney, the attorney needs to electronically file a Notice of Change of Address in all pending cases they have with the Court.

For those cases that will remain with the firm, the firm needs to electronically file a Notice of Substitution of Counsel or a Notice of Change of Counsel to ensure that the Court docket accurately reflects the proper attorney of record and that the new attorney of record is properly set up to receive email notifications.

Who can file the motion to appear PHV?

The motion must be filed by counsel admitted to practice in this District, although it may be
drafted by either the local counsel or movant so long as the requisite certification and consent are
included in the motion as required under the Rules. Rule 4(b)(1) and (3), Rules Governing the
Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline of Attorneys.

Whose responsibility is it to keep an attorney’s contact information current?

It is the attorney’s responsibility to keep their information current. Keeping email information current, including email information for additional recipients on their account, needs to be kept up-to-date in order for the CM/ECF system, which relies on email notifications, to function effectively. When email notices start “bouncing back”, the CM/ECF support staff are required to determine the reason the email was not delivered and resolve the situation. The CM/ECF Administrative Procedures indicate that if the attorney’s email address, mailing address, telephone or fax number changes, he/she will have five business days to update their information.