Effective April 20, 2011, New York-based in-house counsel who are admitted to practice law in other states or U.S. territories, but not New York, must register with the Appellate Division. The new rule, 22 NYCRR Part 522 will permit "in-house counsel" - defined as "an attorney who is employed full time in [New York] by a nongovernmental corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity, including its subsidiaries and organizational affiliates, that is not itself engaged in the practice of law or the rendering of legal services outside such organization" - to provide legal advice and services to his or her institutional employer in New York without running afoul of rules prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law. Registration, in and of itself, will not confer pro hac vice status or permit the attorney to make appearances in court, in any arbitration, or before any agency acting in an adjudicative capacity.

Registration is mandatory, and is limited to attorneys who are licensed in jurisdictions with a reciprocal rule. Most states have similar rules for registration of in-house counsel. See e.g. The new rule is silent as to attorneys who are licensed in states that do not have reciprocal rules. Thus, those attorneys will continue to have the same uncertainty about whether they are engaging in the unauthorized practice of law as they did before the new rule was implemented.

Some of the registration rules to consider are:

  • Current in-house counsel must register by July 19, 2011.  
  • Those who become in-house counsel after April 20, 2011 have 30 days to register.  
  • The application for registration must be filed in the Department of the Appellate Division in which the in-house attorney resides or works.  
  • In-house attorneys will be required to pay New York's biennial registration fee of $375 and "abide by all of the laws and rules that govern attorneys admitted to the practice of law in this State," including, presumably, all CLE requirements.  
  • Registrants are subject to the disciplinary authority of New York State.