1:21-1. Who May Practice; Appearance in Court
(a) Qualifications. Except as provided below, no person shall practice law in this State unless that person is an attorney holding a plenary license to practice in this State, is in good standing, and complies with the following requirements:
(1) An attorney need not maintain a fixed physical location for the practice of law, but must structure his or her practice in such a manner as to assure, as set forth in RPC 1.4, prompt and reliable communication with and accessibility by clients, other counsel, and judicial and administrative tribunals before which the attorney may practice, provided that an attorney must designate one or more fixed physical locations where client files and the attorney’s business and financial records may be inspected on short notice by duly authorized regulatory authorities, where mail or hand-deliveries may be made and promptly received, and where process may be served on the attorney for all actions, including disciplinary actions, that may arise out of the practice of law and activities related thereto.
(2) An attorney who is not domiciled in this State and does not maintain a fixed physical location for the practice of law in this State, but who meets all qualifications for the practice of law set forth herein must designate the Clerk of the Supreme Court as agent upon whom service of process may be made for the purposes set forth in subsection (a)(1) of this rule, in the event that service cannot otherwise be effectuated pursuant to the appropriate Rules of Court. The designation of the Clerk as agent shall be made on a form approved by the Supreme Court.
(3) The system of prompt and reliable communication required by this rule may be achieved through maintenance of telephone service staffed by individuals with whom the attorney is in regular contact during normal business hours, through promptly returned voicemail or electronic mail service, or through any other means demonstrably likely to meet the standard enunciated in subsection (a)(1).
(4) An attorney shall be reasonably available for in-person consultations requested by clients at mutually convenient times and places.
A person not qualifying to practice pursuant to the first paragraph of this rule shall nonetheless be permitted to appear and prosecute or defend an action in any court of this State if the person (1) is a real party in interest to the action or the guardian of the party; or (2) has been admitted to speak pro hac vice pursuant to R. 1:21-2; (3) is a law student or law graduate practicing within the limits of R. 1:21-3; or (4) is an in-house counsel licensed and practicing within the limitations of R. 1:27-2.
Attorneys admitted to the practice of law in another United States jurisdiction may practice law in this state in accordance with RPC 5.5(b) and (c) as long as they comply with Rule 1:21-1(a)(1).
No attorney authorized to practice in this State shall permit another person to practice in this State in the attorney’s name or as the attorney’s partner, employee or associate unless such other person satisfies the requirements of this rule.
(b) Appearance. All attorneys and pro se parties appearing in any action shall be under the control of the court in which they appear and subject to appropriate disciplinary action. An attorney admitted in another jurisdiction shall not be deemed to be making an appearance in this State by reason of taking a deposition pursuant to R. 4:11-4.
(c) Prohibition on Entities. Except as otherwise provided by paragraph (d) of this rule and by R. 1:21-1A (professional corporations), R. 1:21-1B (limited liability companies), R. 1:21-1C (limited liability partnerships), R. 6:10 (appearances in landlord- tenant actions), R. 6:11 (appearances in small claims actions), R. 7:6-2(a) (pleas in municipal court), R. 7:8-7(a) (presence of defendant in municipal court) and by R. 7:12- 4(d) (municipal court violations bureau), an entity, however formed and for whatever purpose, other than a sole proprietorship shall neither appear nor file any paper in any action in any court of this State except through an attorney authorized to practice in this State.
(d) Federal Government Agencies. Staff attorneys employed full time by agencies of the federal government that have an office in New Jersey may represent the interests of that agency in federal and state courts in New Jersey without complying with subsection (a)(1) of this rule.
(e) Legal Assistance Organizations. Nonprofit organizations incorporated in this or any other state for the purpose of providing legal assistance to the poor or functioning as a public interest law firm, and other federally tax exempt legal assistance organizations or trusts, such as those defined by 26 U.S.C.A. 120(b) and 501(c)(20), that provide legal assistance to a defined and limited class of clients, may practice law in their own names through staff attorneys who are members of the bar of the State of New Jersey, provided that: (1) the legal work serves the intended beneficiaries of the organizational purpose, (2) the staff attorney responsible for the matter signs all papers prepared by the organization, and (3) the relationship between staff attorney and client meets the attorney's professional responsibilities to the client and is not subject to interference, control, or direction by the organization's board or employees except for a supervising attorney who is a member of the New Jersey bar. In addition, nonprofit organizations incorporated in this or any other state for the purpose of providing legal assistance to persons of low and low-moderate means, which are affiliated or associated with an ABA-accredited law school and which include a program to educate, mentor, or train recent law school graduates who are recently admitted members of the New Jersey bar ("participating new attorneys"), may practice law in the name of the
organization through such participating new attorneys, provided that: (1) the legal work provided by the organization serves clients of low to low-moderate means, (2) the participating new attorney responsible for any particular matter signs all papers in that matter on behalf of the organization, and (3) the relationship between the participating new attorney and the client is consistent with the attorney's professional responsibilities to the client and is not subject to interference, control, or direction by the organization's board or employees, except to the extent that the participating new attorney is under the oversight of a supervising attorney who is a member of the New Jersey bar.
(f) Appearances Before Office of Administrative Law and Administrative Agencies. Subject to such limitations and procedural rules as may be established by the Office of Administrative Law, an appearance by a non-attorney in a contested case before the Office of Administrative Law or an administrative agency may be permitted, on application, in any of the following circumstances:
(1) where required by federal statute or regulation;
(2) to represent a state agency if the Attorney General does not provide representation in the particular matter and the non-attorney representative is an employee of the agency with special expertise or experience in the matter in controversy;
(3) to represent a county welfare agency if County Counsel does not provide representation in the particular matter and the non-attorney representative is an employee of the agency with special expertise or experience in the matter in controversy;
(4) to assist in providing representation to an indigent as part of a Legal Services program if the non-attorney is a paralegal or legal assistant employed by that program;
(5) to represent a state, county or local government employee in Civil Service proceedings, provided (i) the non-attorney making such appearance is an authorized representative of a labor organization and (ii) the labor organization is the duly authorized representative of the employee for collective bargaining purposes;
(6) to represent a close corporation provided the non-attorney is a principal of the corporation;
(7) to assist an individual who is not represented by an attorney provided (i) the presentation appears likely to be enhanced by such assistance, (ii) the individual certifies that he or she lacks the means to retain an attorney and that representation is not available through a Legal Services program and (iii) the conduct of the proceeding by the Office of Administrative Law will not be impaired by such assistance;
(8) to represent parents or children in special education proceedings, provided the non-attorney has knowledge or training with respect to handicapped pupils and their educational needs so as to enable the non-attorney to facilitate the presentation of the claims or defenses of the parent or child;
(9) to represent union members and employees entitled to union representation in public employment relations proceedings, provided the appearance is by a union representative;
(10) to represent a county or local government appointing authority in Civil Service proceedings, provided the non-attorney representative is an employee of the appointing authority with special expertise or experience in the matter in controversy and the legal representative for the county or municipality does not provide representation in the particular matter; or
(11) to represent a claimant or employer before the Appeal Tribunals or Board of Review of the Department of Labor.
No representation or assistance may be undertaken pursuant to subsection (f) by any disbarred or suspended attorney or by any person who would otherwise receive a fee for such representation.
(g) Appearances at Personal Injury Protection Arbitrations.A non-attorney may represent an insurance company employer at a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) arbitration.