City Bar Applauds In-House Counsel Rule

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced yesterday a new court rule that would permit out-of-state lawyers to provide in-house legal services to their employer even if not admitted to practice in New York, so long as they comply with the registration requirements and abide by New York’s ethics rules.

The City Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility urged adoption of an in-house counsel rule in a report last year. The Committee then teamed with the New York State Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association to develop a joint proposal that was submitted to the Chief Judge. New York now joins 43 other states and D.C. that have recognized the realities of modern practice and made it feasible for in-house counsel, who generally do not interact with the local justice system, to provide their legal expertise to their firm or organization when based in New York.

City Bar President Sam Seymour said, “We applaud Chief Judge Lippman, the Court of Appeals and the Administrative Board of the Courts for establishing the new rules, which will incorporate into the New York legal community the thousands of lawyers who will be serving only as internal counsel to their employers in New York. The rules will provide these lawyers, as they conduct their practice, with appropriate rights and attendant responsibilities, including the duty to register and comply with New York’s ethical rules. The new rules appropriately reflect the realities of modern practice, and we believe they will further strengthen the high standards of our bar.”