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Out-of-state attorneys get OK to serve as in-house counsel

Jonathan Lippman

Out-of-state attorneys can now register to practice in New York on a limited basis as in-house counsel, without formal admission to the state bar. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman adopted the new rules Monday, codified at 22 NYCRR Part 522.

“[T]he new registration rules give New York a competitive edge in attracting corporations and other entities that in the past may have been reticent to locate here because of concerns over the unauthorized practice of law,” Judge Lippman said.

The rules allow attorneys employed as in-house counsel to provide legal services in New York to an employer — a non-governmental corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity or its affiliates — as well as business-related legal services to employees, officers and directors of the employer. However, out-of-state attorneys who register as in-house counsel in New York cannot offer personal legal services to the general public, appear before tribunals or provide pro bono services.

The in-house registration option is available to attorneys admitted in another state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia. Once registered with the Appellate Division, attorneys will be subject to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct and attorney disciplinary oversight. The new rules, which were recommended by the Administrative Board of the Courts and approved by the New York Court of Appeals, go into effect on April 20.

“The new rules will make it easier for in-house attorneys and their employers to relocate to New York, enhancing the state’s position as the business and non-profit capital of the world,” New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger said. The NYSBA had recommended that the court adopt the in-house counsel rules.

In adopting the new rules, New York joins 43 other states and the District of Columbia that have similar rules that provide for the registration of out-of-state attorneys.