United States District Court, Southern District of New York
June 2, 2003
CHARLOTTE KRUMAN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, AGAINST CHRISTIE'S INTERNATIONAL PLC, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lewis A. Kaplan, District Judge.
The parties have reached a settlement and moved for a class determination, approval of the settlement, and awards of attorney's fees. Among the related motions are motions by Charles M. Wright, Esq., of the London, Ontario, firm of Siskind, Cromarty, Ivey & Dowler LLP and by Howard D. Epstein, Esq., of the London, England, firm of Class Law, Solicitors for awards of attorney's fees in their favor. These two motions are referred to herein as the Foreign Attorneys' Motions.
The notices of motion purporting to bring on the Foreign Attorneys' Motions are signed by Messrs. Wright and Epstein, respectively. Neither is admitted to the Bar of this Court nor, so far as the record discloses, to the Bar of any U.S. jurisdiction. Neither is an attorney of record in this matter.*fn1 There are at least two problems with these motions.
First, Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(b)(3) requires that all motions be signed in accordance with Rule 11. Rule 11(a) in turn requires that every motion "be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name . . ." As the individuals who signed the notices of motion are not attorneys of record, the motions fail to conform to Rule 7(b)(3).
Second, the applications are made on behalf of Canadian and English firms, one a limited liability and the other presumably a general partnership. But it is well established that neither corporations nor partnerships may appear in federal courts except by duly licensed attorneys. E.g., Rowland v. California Men's Colony, 506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993); United States v. Cocivera, 104 F.3d 566, 572 (3d Cir. 1996); America West Airlines v. America West Airlines, 40 F.3d 1058, 1059 (9th Cir. 1994); Eagle Assoc. v. Bank of Montreal, 926 F.2d 1305, 1308-10 (2d Cir. 1991). While the Court intends no disrespect either of the individuals who signed the notices of motion or of members of the Canadian and English legal professions, the fact remains that they are not entitled to represent clients — even their own law firms — in courts of the United States.
For the foregoing reasons, the motions of Siskind, Cromarty, Ivey & Dowler LLP and Class Law, Solicitors, are denied. Accordingly, it is unnecessary to consider such questions as whether counsel who do not represent class representatives in class action litigation are entitled to recover attorney's fees where their efforts contributed to the creation of a common fund, and whether, in any case, an award in favor of Class Law would be permissible or appropriate in view of the questionable propriety of litigation contingent fee agreements by British solicitors under U.K. law. See, e.g., Awwad v. Geraghty & Co.,  Q.B. 570 (Eng. C.A).