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April 11, 2011

STATE BAR PRAISES COURT OF APPEALS' IN-HOUSE COUNSEL RULE

Rule helps facilitate business relocation in New York State

New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger today commended the Court of Appeals for adopting a rule that allows out-of-state attorneys to serve as in-house counsel to corporations and other entities located within New York State.  

 "The new rule 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. This is a good measure for economic development in New York," Younger said. The State Bar had recommended that the Court adopt an in-house counsel rule.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said in a statement, "The 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.  Furthermore, the new rules will aid New York-admitted lawyers seeking similar admission in other states that require reciprocity."

The newly created Part 522 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals allows attorneys who are admitted to practice in other states to serve as in-house counsel to businesses, not-for-profit organizations and other entities in New York without needing to pass the New York bar exam and without meeting practice requirements otherwise required for admission. 

Their legal practice would be limited to advising their employer on business-related legal issues.  They would be required to register with the Appellate Division and would be subject to New York's professional conduct and disciplinary rules.

In November 2010, the House of Delegates, the governing body of the State Bar Association, approved a report recommending that New York adopt an in-house counsel rule. Forty-three other states and the District of Columbia have adopted similar in-house counsel rules.

 The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Its programs and activities have served the public and improved the justice system since 1876.