Annual Meeting 2008

More In-House Counsel Regulation Needed, ABA Says

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In-house counsel who advise their employers in a given state, even when they are admitted to practice only in another state, ought to be required to register with the state in which they give that advice, according to a resolution passed by the ABA’s 555-member policy-making House of Delegates this afternoon.

In addition to making public the names of in-house lawyers practicing outside their “home” states, the measure—if adopted by state lawyer regulatory authorities—could require in-house lawyers in their “new” states to make contributions to client security funds, satisfy state continuing legal education requirements, and be subject to disciplinary action.

The resolution was amended on the floor of the House to ensure that it applies only to in-house lawyers who have “a continuous presence” in states in which they are not admitted to practice. The House defeated a proposed amendment which would have required in-house lawyers working outside their home states to handle pro bono cases only when they are supervised by a volunteer lawyer program.

The scheme is “a straightforward registration process that neither creates a de facto licensing process nor places an undue burden on in-house counsel or on states’ bar regulatory systems,” according to the report for Resolution 112A (PDF).

The resolution passed by an overwhelming voice vote.

Annual Meeting 2008:

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