Letter From The President And Communications Committee Chair Of The San Diego Chapter Of The Association Of Corporate Counsel - America

2004-10-01 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :

The San Diego Chapter, along with ACC's Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California Chapters, represents the interests of 2,416 in-house counsel working in California. The San Diego Chapter recently joined ACC's National Office in commenting on proposed rules to implement California's new multijurisdictional practice (MJP) reforms.

While we applaud our state's efforts to enact MJP reforms reflecting the realities of today's cross-border marketplace, we are asking the bar authorities to change four provisions of the proposed rules. These changes will increase the economic and staff efficiencies in the administration of the system and remove unnecessary burdens on the applicants. Our changes will not adversely impact the public policy underlying licensing requirements, the preserving of the integrity of licensing standards, maintaining the reputation of the California bar, and protecting the interests of California clients.

First, we asked for a specialized, streamlined application form for out-of-state attorneys, not licensed by the State Bar of California, to be able to practice law in the state. The 30+ page application proposed by the bar authorities is burdensome to the bar as well as to the attorneys. In addition, a lengthy background questionnaire is not needed for experienced attorneys with no practice or disciplinary problems.

Second, we asked that an out-of-state attorney under California's new limited license not be required to use the title "Registered In-House Counsel" in connection with his or her practice in the state. Requiring the use of "Registered In-House Counsel" designation, rather than using organizational titles such as Senior Vice President, General Counsel or Vice President for Legal Affairs, will create confusion and bears no relation to the competence or professionalism of the counsel.

Third, an out-of-state attorney admitted under California's new limited license is prohibited from pro hac vice admission. There is no rational policy reason to deny pro hac vice admission if the request for such admission has been considered and accepted on its own merits by the tribunal that is itself adjudicating the relevant proceeding.

Fourth, we urge that an out-of-state attorney under California's new limited license be permitted to provide pro bono service through sponsored pro bono programs in the state. Removing registered in-house counsel from those activities removes from the sanctioned programs a vast collection of knowledge, talent, capabilities, and willingness to assist those citizens of California who are most in need of legal representation.

Scheduled to go into effect on November 15, California's MJP rules are published at www.courtinfo.ca.gov and at ACC's MJP home page at www.acca.com/practice/mjp.php. ACC's MJP home page provides an excellent resource for promoting MJP reforms not only in California, but in other states as well.

We welcome in-house counsel in California to join our efforts in addressing MJP reforms and other issues of our collective concern. You can reach us at williamdosborne@aol.com or dstryker@rickengineering.com.

Sincerely,

W. David Osborne, President, San Diego Chapter of ACC

Dennis Stryker, Communications Chair and ACC Board Member