Whether you need a “local attorney” or an “attorney near me” for a medical malpractice case is a question we hear from prospective clients. The answer can be yes or no, or both.

Attorneys Licensed to Practice In-State

YES, you need an attorney who is licensed in the jurisdiction where the case would be filed. Ideally, find an attorney who is not just licensed and a member of the bar in the state, but one who has experience practicing before the specific court in the jurisdiction where you expect to file.

Sometimes, however, you may want a particular attorney, either because of your personal connection to that attorney or because of their specialized knowledge or experience. If the attorney you want is not licensed in the jurisdiction you need, it may still be possible for the attorney to participate on pro hac vice basis where out-of-state attorneys are admitted to practice for only one particular case.

Do I File in a Court Near Me?

Often, the location where the injury took place will be the jurisdiction for filing a medical malpractice claim, but sometimes appropriate jurisdiction can also be based on residence address or business location of the plaintiff(s) or defendant(s).

For example, even if you live across the state lines in Maryland or the District of Columbia, a medical malpractice matter that took place in a doctor’s office in Alexandria, Virginia might be filed in the Alexandria court in the City of Alexandria, VA.

Your medical malpractice attorney will look at all of the permissible venues and decide which appears to be the best fit for your case. In Virginia, the possible options can be found here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title8.01/chapter5/section8.01-262/. In deciding where to file the claim, your medical malpractice attorney may consider many factors, including where the plaintiff would be most comfortable, the defendant’s connection to a jurisdiction, court dockets, travel logistics, jury composition, and other factors.

What If I Don’t Hire An Attorney Where The Injury Happened?

Pro Hac Vice Rule

In most states, there are accommodations for attorneys from out of state. An out-of-state attorney can partner with a local attorney who is a member of the local state’s bar, and then file a motion with the Court to be accepted to practice before the Court. This rule and the related motion is known as appearing pro hac vice. In Virginia, it is defined here.

Do I Need an Attorney with Offices Near Me?

In this post-pandemic, internet-enabled age, we often conduct initial interviews via videoconference, and accept representation agreements through email. We are able to conduct some business with virtual signatures and through internet access to cloud storage for evidence. With the immediacy of response available through email, text messaging, our client portal, and video call technology for communications, the need for personal visits to your attorney’s offices may be quite limited, at least until final trial preparation is underway.

We represent clients throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia from our offices in Alexandria, Virginia. We are also available to make referrals or even participate in other jurisdictions where we are either licensed or make arrangements with a local counsel and appear pro hac vice, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a case in any of the practice areas we serve.




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