QUESTION

Do we need to hire a local lawyer for lawsuits filed in Chicago?

SHORT ANSWER
Both the Federal and State courts in Chicago allow out-of-state attorneys to appear provided they have local counsel.
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Both the federal and state courts in Chicago allow out-of-state attorneys to represent parties, provided that they fulfill certain requirements. Appearances by out-of-state attorneys in the Circuit Court of Cook County are governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 707 (which requires filing with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission). Such appearances in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois are governed by Local Rule 83.14. Both courts require that an out-of-state attorney have local counsel located in Chicago. But the out-of-state attorney can handle most of the case.