ACC Seeks Changes In CA MJP Proposal

Friday, October 1, 2004 - 01:00

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) recently filed another round of comments with bar authorities in California regarding the implementation of the state's multijurisdictional practice (MJP) reforms.

As advocated by ACC, the state had passed an MJP package authorizing lawyers from outside of California to make temporary practice incursions into the state on client business, as well as authorizing in-house lawyers licensed in other states to accept jobs with California employers in the state without taking the California bar exam.

ACC had filed a set of comments asking for changes to proposed Rule 965, most of which were not implemented. ACC continues to have significant concerns about several provisions which seem inconsistent with the overall spirit of the reform. Now, bar authorities have requested guidance on the details of implementation of new Rule 965, and ACC has requested changes to four major provisions of the proposed implementation regime.

First, ACC requested that the bar shorten its 30-plus page Application for Determination of Moral Character, arguing that the same form required of first-time bar applicants is not needed for experienced attorneys with no practice or disciplinary problems.

Second, ACC requested that the proposal's requirement that registered in-house lawyers must use the title "Registered In-House Counsel" is not necessary, is confusing, discriminatory, degrading, and void of any public policy purpose.

Third, ACC suggested that the rule should not be interpreted to prevent all court appearances of registered in-house counsel in the state, but should allow court appearances by registrants who successfully complete the court pro hac vice application.

Fourth, ACC urged the bar to redefine the language prohibiting other representations to allow for corporate counsel registered under the rule to provide pro bono services (supervised by a licensed California pro bono provider).

"Our recommendations are focused on streamlining the proposed process and will, we believe, increase economic and staff efficiencies in the administration of the system and remove unnecessary burdens on applicants, without adversely impacting the protection of California clients or the reputation and standards of the California bar," said John H. McGuckin Jr., ACC's chairman of the board and active member of the California Bar who served on the Bar's Board of Governors from 1993-1996.