If you think about it, rules that prevent lawyers from practicing law in other states are kind of anachronistic anyway. This isn’t 1810. We’ve got planes and trains and automobiles. Clients can have legal issues in many jurisdictions, and it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to require that they use a different lawyer in Oklahoma than they do in Texas.
With that in mind, this suggestion from the New York State Bar Association is a no-brainer. They propose that in-house lawyers shouldn’t have to pass the New York State Bar Exam in order to practice in New York State. Instead, they suggest that out-of-state, in-house attorneys simply pay a registration fee.
Because this is New York — rules bore us, but money talks…
I’m not sure why this recommendation hasn’t been made and adopted already. From the ABA Journal:
Bar leaders have asked the state’s top court to drop the exam requirement but to require payment of the $375 lawyer registration fee, the New York Law Journal reports. They also recommend the in-house lawyers be subject to the state’s ethics rules and continuing legal education requirements.
Pay us money and you can practice, but if you screw up you’ll be subjected to our standards, not the ethics rules of wherever you come from. This sounds like New York in a nutshell.
Give me your tired, your GCs, your huddled masses yearning to bill fees. The wretched refuse from your corporate shores. Send these, the tempest-tossed bean counters, to me. I lift my requirements to enter the golden door.
Considering that New York is one of six states that do not have reciprocity rules, this proposal is a long time coming.