1. What Is a Notice of Appearance?
2. Rules Governing the Appearance of Counsel
3. What Is a Local Counsel?

The appearance of counsel definition is something that a creditor in a bankruptcy case should know if he or she is seeking legal representation. In order to declare appearance of counsel, an attorney is required to submit a notice of appearance and comply with certain rules and regulations imposed by the court. An attorney may handle an appearance himself or herself or hire a local counsel to do so.

What Is a Notice of Appearance?

A notice of appearance refers to a document that is usually filed by a lawyer on behalf of a creditor in a bankruptcy case. It indicates that the lawyer is representing the creditor and wishes to obtain copies of all the documents the debtor and other parties are required to provide in the case. This document typically contains language that seeks the provision of papers.

A notice of appearance is a routine and standard kind of filing and a very common practice in bankruptcy cases. In a consumer case, it is usually submitted by secured creditors, particularly mortgagees who are interested in following the developments in a bankruptcy proceeding.

A creditor usually files a notice of appearance when he or she is filing a proof of claim or motion. An attorney who files a motion for relief from stay in a bankruptcy case often concurrently files a notice of appearance if he or she has not done so previously.

In general, if you are a consumer debtor in a bankruptcy case, you are not required to take any action if your creditor serves a notice of appearance. Nonetheless, if you serve a motion, make sure it is served on every party in interest, including:

  • Trustee.
  • U.S. trustee.
  • All creditors in the petition.
  • Those who served a notice of appearance.

If you are the creditor in a bankruptcy case and want to be sure you will receive notices, you should serve a notice of appearance and request for service of papers.

Rules Governing the Appearance of Counsel

According to the rules of the U.S. Supreme Court, an attorney who wants to submit a document in the Supreme Court must be admitted to practice before the Court. However, admission to the Bar of the Court is not a requirement for a lawyer who is appointed under the Criminal Justice Act.

Also, the lawyer whose name, address, and contact number are shown on the cover of the document is regarded as the counsel of record. In this case, there is no need to file a notice of appearance. If the cover of the document shows more than one lawyer, the lawyer who is counsel of record must be clearly identified.

If a party chooses not to file a document, the attorney representing him or her is required to file a separate notice of appearance and indicate the name of the party. A new notice of appearance must be served if the attorney who is counsel of record is substituted.

What Is a Local Counsel?

A local counsel may mean an ad-hoc attorney who is hired for the purpose of handling an appearance or hearing or eliminating the need for the lead attorney to travel. Just as “of counsel” has multiple definitions, the term “local counsel” can mean different things. Sometimes, when handling a case in another jurisdiction, the chosen counsel of a client may engage a local attorney to ensure that the case proceeds in accordance with local rules and practices. This is usually done with client involvement and agreement.

In many situations, local counsels are used without notifying the clients, and they are compensated with a portion of the fees paid to the lead counsels. They may appear with limited authority and knowledge, only enough to respond to a small number of questions or issues. In all states, having an agent of the lead counsel acting on behalf of a client as local counsel is probably enough to establish a lawyer-client relationship.

According to a rule pertaining to the use of local counsels, an attorney is allowed to limit the scope of representation as long as the limitation is reasonable and the client knowingly agrees to it.

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