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Crossing the Border: Issues in the Multistate Practice of Law

David G. Ebner, Proceedings of 35th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1989)

The Overthrust Belt, Denver-Julesburg Basin, and other mineralized areas freely cross jurisdictional boundaries without any significant alteration in geological character. Lured by the prospect of applying successful interpretative techniques, mineral development companies often wish to follow these areas of mineralization into adjoining states, although they [2-2] soon discover that, even though the geology may be similar, the title, operating, and permitting requirements are very different. Some element of continuity may be preserved if a company uses legal counsel who are already familiar with the company's objectives and methods; if these lawyers are not licensed in the new jurisdiction, however, their business knowledge will be of little help in coping with the substantially different legal requirements imposed by the new jurisdiction.

In selecting counsel to work in a new jurisdiction, a company consequently must balance its existing counsel's familiarity with the company's business methods against the complexity of the legal matters which will be encountered in the new jurisdiction. While a lawyer must make a similar business decision in determining whether it is economically feasible to learn the relevant law of the new jurisdiction, he also faces a threshold question as to whether he is even legally permitted to perform the requested services. This paper assu