APRL filed an amicus in support of a petition for certiorari challenging New York Judiciary Law §470. The law prevents non-resident lawyers from practicing in New York if they do not maintain a physical office for the transaction of law business within the state. Currently, there are more than 134,000 non-resident New York lawyers.
Attorney Ekaterina Schoenefeld, who practices in New Jersey and is a member of the New York bar, challenged §470 as a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause under the U.S. Constitution. A judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York found the law to be unconstitutional in a 2008 decision but a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit subsequently overturned this decision in 2016, ruling that Schoenefeld had not proved that §470 was “enacted for a protectionist purpose.” Schoenefeld then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review.
At stake in the Schoenefeld case is the ever-expanding population of lawyers who live and practice outside their states of admission, and whether States can burden these lawyers by requiring them to maintain a costly physical office that does not contribute to their practice or clients. Under the law as it now stands, New York admitted lawyers who reside within the state, and lawyers in many states who maintain multijurisdictional practices, are ethically permitted to operate “virtual law offices,” often from their homes, and can take advantage of modern advances in telecommunications and information sharing in order to efficiently and effectively serve their clients. But §470 creates the anomaly for New York admitted lawyers who are not resident in New York that they must maintain a physical office within the state.
APRL’s brief was drafted and filed by the law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson attorneys Joel Bertocchi and Anthony Davis, together with Ron Minkoff and Tyler Maulsby of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, P.C., Mr. Davis , Mr. Minkoff are both long time APRL members and past Presidents. The organization thanks them and their firms for the excellent work. The brief is available here: SCHOENEFELD APRL amicus FINAL