New Rules Expand Opportunities for Out-of-State Attorneys to Practice in New York

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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After months of review, the New York State Court of Appeals has made two important rule changes that will take effect on December 30, 2015. See the announcement here. These changes have been added to title 22 (relating to the judiciary) of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR). I will review the two changes in this post.

22 NYCRR Part 523: Authorizing Out-of-State Lawyers (including foreign lawyers) to Provide Legal Services in New York on a Temporary Basis

This new rule will allow out-of-state attorneys to provide legal services in New York on a temporary basis provided that the attorney is:

  • admitted or authorized to practice law in the United States; or
  • “is a member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign jurisdiction, the members of which are admitted to practice as lawyers or counselors at law or the equivalent and are subject to effective regulation and discipline by a duly constituted professional body or public authority.”

An out-of-state lawyer seeking to provide legal services in New York on a temporary basis must be in good standing in every jurisdiction where he or she is authorized to practice law.

“Temporary practice” under 22 NYCRR Part 523 includes work on matters:

  1. on which an admitted New York attorney actively participated or assumes joint responsibility; or
  2. in a pending or potential proceeding where the lawyer or a person the lawyer is assisting is authorized to appear; or
  3. reasonably related to an alternative dispute resolution proceeding for which pro hac vice admission is not required; or
  4. which arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted or authorized to practice.

These are the limited forms of “temporary practice” covered by 22 NYCRR Part 523. An out-of-state lawyer who seeks to provide legal services in New York with respect to a specific issue that is not covered under the new 22 NYCRR Part 523 must seek admission pro hac vice (for this one occasion) to practice in New York for 18 months. The admission pro hac vice eligibility requirements and application process are found in 22 NYCRR Part 520.11 here.

See the new 22 NYCR Part 523 here.

22 NYCRR Part 522: Allowing Foreign Lawyers to Register as In-House Counsel

22 NYCR Part 522 has been amended to allow qualified attorneys from outside the United States to register and be employed full-time as in-house counsel by any of the following types of organizations (so long as it is not engaged in the practice of law or the rendering of legal services outside of such organization):

  • Corporation;
  • Partnership;
  • Association or other legal entity (including its subsidiaries and organizational affiliates).

In order to qualify, the foreign attorney must remain an active member in good standing of a recognized legal profession in a foreign jurisdiction (similar to the requirements found in Part 523), comply with the laws governing attorneys admitted to practice law in New York, and register biennially with the New York State Office of Court Administration. New York will be the twentieth state to permit foreign lawyers to work as in-house counsel.

See the amended 22 NYCRR Part 522 here.

Conclusion

These new rules will make it far easier for out-of-state lawyers to perform specific legal services in New York. Both 22 NYCRR Part 523 and the amended 522 were carefully considered, and strike a balance between modernizing New York's provisions for out-of-state legal practice while ensuring that the out-of-state lawyers will work in New York in specific capacities and under the rules of legal practice in New York.