In-House Counsel Registration: New York Court of Appeals Adopts Provision Allowing for Registration of In-House Counsel Not Admitted to the New York Bar

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - April 18, 2011

By order dated March 25, 2011, and released last week, the New York Court of Appeals adopted a new rule providing for in-house attorneys who are licensed in another United States jurisdiction, but not in New York, to register as in-house lawyers entitled to practice in the state without taking the New York bar exam. Under the new rules, a registered in-house attorney may provide legal services in New York for the attorney’s employer and its affiliates, but may not appear before a New York court or tribunal or provide individual legal services to the general public (including pro bono services and services for employees, officers, and directors of the attorney’s employer). Registered in-house attorneys will be subject to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as all other laws and rules governing New York attorneys, including continuing legal education (CLE) requirements and the payment of a $375 biennial fee. If a registered in-house counsel subsequently applies for admission to the New York bar on motion, however, time spent practicing as an in-house counsel does not count toward the prior-practice requirements for admission on motion.

The registration provision will take effect on April 20, 2011. Out-of-state attorneys who are currently employed as in-house counsel for a New York organization must apply for registration within 90 days of the effective date. Attorneys who become employed as in-house counsel for a New York organization after the effective date must apply for registration within 30 days of beginning employment.