New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has issued an order amending its rules relating to lawyers who are admitted in another jurisdiction, but not in New York.
The general rule has been that lawyers who are not admitted in New York are not permitted to “establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this State for the practice of law,” even if they are not practicing New York law at all.
In light of the modern prevalence of working from home, the Court of Appeals has ordered a carveout, which would allow attorneys to practice other states’ law from their home in New York, under certain conditions.
Specifically, 22 NYCRR Part 523 now provides that attorneys practicing only non-New York law are permitted to practice from a “temporary or permanent residence or other temporary or permanent location” only if they meet the following criteria:
- They lawyer must not practice New York law;
- The lawyer may not advertise that they practice New York law or that they have a New York office to practice law;
- The lawyer may not solicit or accept clients for matters which will primarily require advice on New York law;
- The lawyer may not “regularly conduct in-person meetings” in New York; and
- The lawyer must “make diligent efforts to correct” people with the misunderstanding that they lawyer is authorized to practice New York law.
These new rules go into effect on December 7, 2022.
This relaxing of the prohibition on practice in New York by out-of-state attorneys is a good measure that reflects the modern reality of remote practice. Attorneys who reside in New York but are not licensed to practice New York law will surely applaud this amendment; however, they should use care to ensure that their practice fits within the conditions of the law.
Note that under this law, and potentially under the law of other jurisdictions, other states may also have restrictions on the right to practice their law from out of state.
Lawyers residing in New York who practice other states’ laws may wish to consult an attorney on what constitutes permissible practice. The attorneys at Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP are experienced in matters regarding legal ethics and prohibitions on practice. Call us today at (212) 754-9000.