Support the Repeal of Judiciary Law § 470 | 2023 NYS Legislative Agenda
The City Bar supports the repeal of Judiciary Law § 470 to permit attorneys to be licensed to practice in New York without maintaining New York residency or office space. Under Judiciary Law § 470, an attorney licensed in New York who maintains an office in state may practice in New York even if they are out-of-state residents. The New York Court of Appeals has explicitly interpreted this rule to mean that a nonresident attorney who wishes to practice in New York must be both licensed to practice in New York and have a physical office in New York. At the time of its enactment, the logic behind the rule was that it helped ensure personal service on a nonresident attorney. However, the Court of Appeals has acknowledged there are enough measures already in place outside of Judiciary Law § 470 to ensure proper service on a nonresident attorney, thus rendering Judiciary Law § 470 obsolete. The New York Court of Appeals’ interpretation has also spawned new motion practice gamesmanship, costing litigants needless legal expense, wasted time, and no tactical advantage. Moreover, compliance with the current law is financially burdensome for nonresident attorneys and thus, again, increases clients’ legal expenses without providing any clear benefit. With modern technology, the presence of a physical office address is not a determining factor of successful or professional representation.
Vetoed by the Governor, Memo 134 – December 22, 2023