Non-resident attorneys need physical office in NY to practice law, Second Circuit holds

On March 31, 2015, the New York State Court of Appeals concluded that nonresident lawyers in New York must maintain a physical office in the jurisdiction in order to practice.

In this case, a New Jersey resident admitted to practice law in New York alleged that Judiciary Law § 470 – which mandates that a nonresident attorney maintain an ‘office for the transaction of law business’ in NY State – was, among other things, unconstitutional on its face.

The Second Circuit determined that the constitutionality of the statute was dependent upon the interpretation of the law office requirement. The court observed that the requirements that must be met by nonresident attorneys in order to practice law in New York “reflect an important state interest and implicate significant policy issues”. The court asked to the Court of Appeals of New York to certify which are the minimum requirements necessary to satisfy the duty pending on nonresident attorneys to maintain a NY office for the transaction of business. After accepting certification, the Court of Appeals of New York deemed that the language of the

Author: FGC

statute is clear. It requires “nonresident attorneys to maintain a physical law office within the State”. [emphasis added]

The matter now returns to the Second Circuit for a determination of the constitutionality of Judiciary Law §470 under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution.


Schoenefeld v. State of New York, N.Y.3d (March 31, 2015) is available at…               Open Pdf

More information is available at…

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal

Follow us on& Like us on