Effective April 20, 2011, the New York State Court of Appeals adopted a rule (22 NYCRR 522 [hereinafter the Rule]) requiring registration by attorneys who, though not admitted to the New York bar, are employed full-time in this state as in-house counsel by a corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity that is not itself engaged in the practice of law or the rendering of legal services outside such organization. While registration as in-house counsel is not the equivalent of being admitted or licensed to practice law in New York, the Rule permits the attorney to provide legal services in this state to a single employer (or its affiliates) and its officers, directors and employees on matters related to the attorney’s work for that employer. Failure to register is deemed professional misconduct under Part 522.7(b). Attorneys already admitted to the New York bar who are employed as in-house counsel are not subject to Part 522's registration requirement. The complete Rule, including definitions of the scope of legal services which may be performed by registered in-house counsel, is available at: www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/522rules11.htm.
Effective December 4, 2013, the Court of Appeals amended Part 522 to permit registered in-house counsel to provide pro-bono legal services in New York State.
The Court of Appeals previously made in-house counsel registration a requirement for foreign attorneys who met certain criteria. Effective April 15, 2020, the Court of Appeals further amended Part 522 to require that full-time and part-time attorneys employed in New York State (including those who reside outside of New York State) as in-house counsel register as in-house counsel if they are providing legal services to their employers. The amended Rule further describes additional alternative criteria for non-US attorneys to register as in-house counsel if they are providing legal services to their employers, to wit, that such attorneys are trained and licensed as lawyers and eligible to join the bar in a foreign jurisdiction, if such bar exists, or that they are otherwise eligible to engage in the private practice of law in the foreign jurisdiction upon ceasing to be employed as in-house counsel.
In-house counsel application forms and instructions are available by clicking on the links below:
- Instructions for Attorneys Admitted in a U.S. State, Territory, or the District of Columbia
- Initial Application as In-House Counsel for Attorneys Admitted in a U.S. State, Territory, or the District of Columbia
- Instructions for Attorneys Not Admitted to Practice in a U.S. State, Territory, or the District of Columbia
- Initial Application as In-House Counsel for Attorneys Not Admitted in a U.S. State, Territory, or the District of Columbia
- Application to Re-Register With a New Employer as In-House Counsel
A searchable directory of registered in-house counsel is available at:
The Registration Process
Registration requires submission of an application to the Clerk of the Appellate Division in the judicial department where the applicant resides or is employed (the jurisdiction of each Appellate Division department may be reviewed at www.nycourts.gov/courts/appellatedivisions.shtml). Please include the following in the order below:
- a certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction in which the applicant is licensed to practice law; or if the foreign jurisdiction does not issue such certificates, an affidavit along with relevant supporting documentation confirming that the applicant is trained as a lawyer and eligible to join the bar of such foreign jurisdiction, if such a bar exists, or is otherwise eligible to engage in the private practice of law in such jurisdiction, upon ceasing to be employed as in-house counsel;
- a letter from the disciplinary body in each jurisdiction where the applicant is licensed to practice law certifying whether or not charges have ever been filed against the applicant, and, if so, the substance of the charges and the disposition thereof; or if the foreign jurisdiction in which the applicant is licensed to practice law does not provide such letters, an affidavit certifying whether charges have been filed with or by such committee or body against the applicant; and if so, the substance of the charge and disposition thereof; and
- any other papers the applicant deems appropriate to submit.
Further, an applicant licensed in the United States or a U.S. territory must be admitted to the practice of law as an active member in good standing in at least one jurisdiction which permits attorneys admitted in New York to practice as in-house counsel in that jurisdiction. At present, New York recognizes these States and Districts for this purpose.
Applicants shall preserve the original documents as the Court reserves the right to request the production of said documents. Applicants for registration should submit the completed application package, including all required documents, in digital (pdf) format, by e-mail to the corresponding department. Do not apply to more than one Department of the Appellate Division.
First Judicial Department
Second Judicial Department
Third Judicial Department
Fourth Judicial Department
If the Appellate Division accepts a candidate for registration as in-house counsel, the candidate will receive further instructions on how to register with the Office of Court Administration (OCA) as required pursuant to Part 522.3(c) and Part 118.3. Registered in-house counsel must renew their status on a biennial basis with OCA, which maintains a database of registered in-house counsel.
At this time, in-house counsel applicants are not assessed application or registration fees, nor are they required to complete New York State Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits