On May 13, 2016, ACC filed an amicus brief supporting a petition for rehearing in a Second Circuit case involving a challenge to New York Judiciary Law § 470, which discriminates against nonresident attorneys by requiring them but not resident attorneys to maintain an “office for the transaction of law business” within the state. A New Jersey attorney challenged the law under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but the panel majority rejected the challenge on the ground that the plaintiff did not prove that the statute was enacted for a “protectionist” purpose. In its amicus brief, ACC explains that the panel’s decision not only contravenes longstanding precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court, but will also have significant adverse consequences for the legal industry in this country, giving states wider latitude to restrict the practice of law by out-of-state attorneys. ACC also describes how the panel majority’s decision will harm corporations by driving up their legal costs and depriving them of their counsel of choice. In this modern age of the Internet, email, telecommuting, videoconferencing, virtual law offices and fast transit, there is simply no basis for any state – much less a state at the center of global commerce – to require a physical office to practice law. In short, ACC’s amicus brief argues that rehearing should be granted to ensure that lawyers who are members of the New York bar can represent their clients in the New York courts.
Click here to view ACC’s amicus brief.