The Law School Authority

S. Ct. of Virginia v. Friedman Case Brief

Summary of S. Ct. of Virginia v. Friedman
S. Ct. 1988

Relevant Facts: VA admits lawyers to practice On motion w/o taking the bar if they are residents of the State. Myrna Friedman was admitted to IL and D.C. bar, she previously practiced in VA for 4 yrs.  She married and moved to Maryland, but intended on retaining her employment in VA as an attorney. On motion the S. Ct. denied her entrance despite her assurances that she would maintain a full time practice in VA.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the residency requirement on lawyers practicing in Virginia violates the P & I Clause?

Court’s Holding: Yes

Procedure: USDCt entered summary for Friedman, Ct. App. affirmed, S. Ct. affirmed.

Law or Rule(s):  The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the Several States.

Court Rationale: The admission to practice law within the state is a privilege bearing on the vitality of the Nation and therefore accorded equal treatment of residents and nonresidents. VA has burdened the right to practice law, as a privilege, by discriminating among otherwise equally qualified applicants solely on the basis of citizenship or residency.  VA’s justifications that the residency requirement will assure the state that attorneys will retain a high level of familiarity w/ VA law, and facilitate full time practice, are insufficient to meet the State’s burden of showing the discrimination is warranted by a substantial State objective.  The Pl earns her living working as an attorney in VA, as such she has a substantial stake in the practice of law in VA.

Plaintiff’s Argument: The restriction deprives nonresidents of a protected privilege, the right to practice law.

Defendant’s Argument:   The bar examination serves as an adequate alternative means of gaining admission to the bar. So long as any applicant may gain admission w/o regard to residence the State hasn’t discriminated.

vel non – or not

panoply – display or spectacle

ameliorative – enhance or improve, perfect.



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