It is permissible under the Model Rules for U.S. lawyers to form partnerships or other entities to practice law in which foreign lawyers are partners or owners, as long as the foreign lawyers are members of a recognized legal profession in a foreign jurisdiction and the arrangement is in compliance with the law of jurisdictions where the firm practices. Members of a profession that is not recognized as a legal profession by the foreign jurisdiction would, however, be deemed "nonlawyers" such that admitting them to partnership would violate Rule 5.4 (Professional Independence of Lawyer). Before accepting a foreign lawyer as a partner, the responsible lawyers in a U.S. law firm have an ethical obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that the foreign lawyer qualifies under this standard and that the arrangement is in compliance with the law of the jurisdictions where the firm practices. The responsible lawyers in a U.S. law firm also have ethical obligations to take reasonable steps to ensure that matters in their U.S. offices involving representation in a foreign jurisdiction are managed in accordance with applicable ethical rules, and that all lawyers in the firm comply with other applicable ethical rules.
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