Friday, September 4, 2015
Office Move Leads to Unauthorized Practice Admonition
The web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers has a summary of an admonition imposed on an attorney
On June 11, 2001, the respondent became a member of the Massachusetts bar. She has since maintained an “active status” law license. The respondent is not and has never been a member of the Pennsylvania bar.
In 2008, the respondent became the General Counsel of a company headquartered in Massachusetts. In or about May of 2011, the company relocated its headquarters to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In September of 2011, the respondent moved to Philadelphia to continue her work as General Counsel from the company’s new headquarters. Over the next three years, the respondent oversaw the company’s legal operations. In this role, her legal practice was limited to advising the company on issues under Massachusetts and federal law. Issues concerning Pennsylvania law were referred to outside legal counsel.
Under Pennsylvania law, every attorney not a member of the Pennsylvania bar who is employed by and regularly performs legal services in Pennsylvania for a business in that state must obtain a “Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License” from the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners. There is no exemption for attorneys who specialize in federal law and/or the law of another state.
Despite the requirements of Pennsylvania law, the respondent failed to apply for or obtain a “Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License” from the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners. By working as an in-house lawyer in Pennsylvania without a “Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License,” the respondent violated Mass. R. Prof. C. 5.5(a) [Unauthorized Practice of law].
The respondent has no disciplinary history. She received an admonition for the misconduct described above.
The summary does not identify the attorney. (Mike Frisch)