New York Court of Appeals Announces New Rules Governing Practice in New York by Attorneys Not Admitted in the State: Provisions Permit Temporary Practice by Non-New York Attorneys and Registration of Non-U.S. Lawyers as In-House Counsel

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - December 17, 2015

On December 15, 2015, the New York State Court of Appeals announced the following two changes to its rules:  (i) adoption of a new rule authorizing out-of-state and non-U.S. lawyers to practice in New York on a temporary basis; and (ii) an expansion of the rule governing registration of in-house counsel to permit non-U.S. lawyers (as well as out-of-state lawyers) to register as in-house counsel in New York.  Attorneys seeking to practice under the new provisions must satisfy certain conditions, including maintaining admission or authorization to practice in another jurisdiction.  The rule changes were approved by the Court of Appeals on December 10, 2015 and will take effect on December 30, 2015.
Although practitioners have generally understood the temporary practice of law to be permitted in New York, such practice has proceeded informally and has not previously been endorsed or regulated by the State.  In addition, the present in-house counsel registration is limited to domestic lawyers, which has hindered foreign companies seeking to receive legal services in New York from in-house attorneys based outside the United States; non-U.S. lawyers could engage in on-going practice in New York only by registering as foreign legal consultants, which involves a somewhat more elaborate application process.  Accordingly, the newly announced rules may give clients operating in New York greater access to legal services from out-of-state and non-U.S. attorneys.