USA NATIONWIDE LEGAL SERVICES
American legal services we can provide throughout the USA
Who can UK residents and foreign nationals turn to for legal assistance in US matters?
It is not always easy knowing whom to turn to for legal assistance in the UK for UK legal matters, never mind when you may need assistance or advice in relation to foreign legal matters. For UK businesses and individuals who need USA legal assistance, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Generally, you are going to need to find a lawyer (which term in the USA is synonymous with attorney, attorney-at-law, or lawyer) to determine whether he or she can help you.
Unlike the situation in the UK where there are seven types of qualified lawyers, in the USA all lawyers have the exact same type of law license but some lawyers like myself may be licensed in more than one US state.
In the United Kingdom, there are three separate court systems being Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England & Wales. Each has its courts, its own equivalent of the Law Society and/or SRA, and each appoints its own solicitors. Due to this, a solicitor of England & Wales would not generally be permitted to act appear on behalf of someone in Northern Ireland, nor could he or she file court pleadings with the courts of Northern Ireland as he or she is not a solicitor in that jurisdiction. It may be that some solicitors may of course have applied to and been added to the lists of more than one jurisdiction.
In the United States, there are 50 US separate state court systems and additionally a federal court system, with each having its own system of courts. Just as in the UK, where a solicitor qualified in England & Wales cannot normally appear in the Scottish courts or courts of Northern Ireland, in the USA you will need a lawyer who is a qualified lawyer in the relevant US state.
In some areas of US law, it is sufficient for a US lawyer to be qualified in any one or more of the US states to be able to offer certain legal services to any clients. These legal services relate to matters of federal law such as US immigration, the preparation of US estate tax returns, US E-2 visas, renunciation of US citizenship, ITIN applications, etc. In such matters, it is irrelevant in what US state or states the lawyer is qualified.
This is why when a US lawyer answers a telephone call he or she first needs to know what US state or area of law is relevant to the matter. The laws of the fifty states vary and a lawyer is normally qualified in no more than two or three US states, and he or she will only handle certain types of matters. It is very important that the area of law and relevant jurisdiction is identified so it is possible for the lawyer to confirm whether he or she can act in such courts and that he or she is insured in offering such legal services which will identify what work we can or cannot do for you. Save for national matters, only a lawyer qualified to act in a particular US state may represent clients in the courts of such state. A more important point may be that no lawyer's insurance policy would cover advice given or work performed for a client where the lawyer was advising as to the law of a US state in which he or she is not qualified.
Due to the above, and in order to avoid wasting your time, we always need to ask you some questions in order to determine whether we may be able to assist you or not. Typically, one of the first questions we always need to ask a prospective client is what particular US state does the matter relate to.
Where you are a UK resident in a US legal matter or vice versa, you should where possible seek to take both US and UK legal advice so as to protect your interests and know your options.
As set out below in our website footer below, the typical national or federal work we handle includes US ITIN applications, US spousal visas [no fiancee visas], E-2 investment visas, waivers of Inadmissibility to enter the USA, the renunciation of US citizenship, and the preparation of USA Estate tax treaty returns (for the estates of UK nationals who owned US property).
Where do you start? If you are in the UK and are looking for US legal representation or advice, it's easy to leave things to a later date rather than sort them out. Don't take chances! You should take legal advice and actually know your viable options. Check out below the US state and federal links for the various US matters we handle.