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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 9.46. Registered in-house counsel

(a) Definitions

The following definitions apply to terms used in this rule:

(1)"Qualifying institution" means a corporation, a partnership, an association, or other legal entity, including its subsidiaries and organizational affiliates. Neither a governmental entity nor an entity that provides legal services to others can be a qualifying institution for purposes of this rule. A qualifying institution must:

(A)Employ at least 10 employees full time in California; or

(B)Employ in California an attorney who is an active member in good standing of the State Bar of California.

(2)"Active member in good standing of the bar of a United States state, jurisdiction, possession, territory, or dependency" means an attorney who meets all of the following criteria:

(A)Is a member in good standing of the entity governing the practice of law in each jurisdiction in which the member is licensed to practice law;

(B)em] Remains an active member in good standing of the entity governing the practice of law in at least one United States state, jurisdiction, possession, territory, or dependency, other than California, while practicing law as registered in-house counsel in California; and

(C)em] Has not been disbarred, has not resigned with charges pending, or is not suspended from practicing law in any other jurisdiction.

(Subd (a) relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (j) effective November 15, 2004.)

(b) Scope of practice

Subject to all applicable rules, regulations, and statutes, an attorney practicing law under this rule is:

(1)Permitted to provide legal services in California only to the qualifying institution that employs him or her;

(2)Not permitted to make court appearances in California state courts or to engage in any other activities for which pro hac vice admission is required if they are performed in California by an attorney who is not a member of the State Bar of California; and

(3)Not permitted to provide personal or individual representation to any customers, shareholders, owners, partners, officers, employees, servants, or agents of the qualifying institution.

(Subd (b) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (a) effective November 15, 2004.)

(c) Requirements

For an attorney to practice law under this rule, the attorney must:

(1)Be an active member in good standing of the bar of a United States state, jurisdiction, possession, territory, or dependency;

(2)Register with the State Bar of California and file an Application for Determination of Moral Character;

(3)Meet all of the requirements for admission to the State Bar of California, except that the attorney:

(A)Need not take the California bar examination or the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination; and

(B)May practice law while awaiting the result of his or her Application for Determination of Moral Character;

(4)Comply with the rules adopted by the Board of Governors relating to the State Bar Registered In-House Counsel Program;

(5)Practice law exclusively for a single qualifying institution, except that, while practicing under this rule, the attorney may, if so qualified, simultaneously practice law as a registered legal services attorney;

(6)Abide by all of the laws and rules that govern members of the State Bar of California, including the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements;

(7)Satisfy in his or her first year of practice under this rule all of the MCLE requirements, including ethics education, that members of the State Bar of California must complete every three years and, thereafter, satisfy the MCLE requirements applicable to all members of the State Bar; and

(8)Reside in California.

(Subd (c) relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (b) effective November 15, 2004.)

(d) Application

To qualify to practice law as registered in-house counsel, an attorney must:

(1)Register as an attorney applicant and file an Application for Determination of Moral Character with the Committee of Bar Examiners;

(2)Submit to the State Bar of California a declaration signed by the attorney agreeing that he or she will be subject to the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court of California and the State Bar of California and attesting that he or she will not practice law in California other than on behalf of the qualifying institution during the time he or she is registered in-house counsel in California, except that if so qualified, the attorney may, while practicing under this rule, simultaneously practice law as a registered legal services attorney; and

(3)Submit to the State Bar of California a declaration signed by an officer, a director, or a general counsel of the applicant's employer, on behalf of the applicant's employer, attesting that the applicant is employed as an attorney for the employer, that the nature of the employment conforms to the requirements of this rule, that the employer will notify the State Bar of California within 30 days of the cessation of the applicant's employment in California, and that the person signing the declaration believes, to the best of his or her knowledge after reasonable inquiry, that the applicant qualifies for registration under this rule and is an individual of good moral character.

(Subd (d) relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (c) effective November 15, 2004.)

(e) Duration of practice

A registered in-house counsel must renew his or her registration annually. There is no limitation on the number of years in-house counsel may register under this rule. Registered in-house counsel may practice law under this rule only for as long as he or she remains employed by the same qualifying institution that provided the declaration in support of his or her application. If an attorney practicing law as registered in-house counsel leaves the employment of his or her employer or changes employers, he or she must notify the State Bar of California within 30 days. If an attorney wishes to practice law under this rule for a new employer, he or she must first register as in-house counsel for that employer.

(Subd (e) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (d) effective November 15, 2004.)

(f) Eligibility

An application to register under this rule may not be denied because:

(1)The attorney applicant has practiced law in California as in-house counsel before the effective date of this rule.

(2)The attorney applicant is practicing law as in-house counsel at or after the effective date of this rule, provided that the attorney applies under this rule within six months of its effective date.

(Subd (f) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (e) effective November 15, 2004.)

(g) Application and registration fees

The State Bar of California may set appropriate application fees and initial and annual registration fees to be paid by registered in-house counsel.

(Subd (g) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (f) effective November 15, 2004.)

(h) State Bar Registered In-House Counsel Program

The State Bar must establish and administer a program for registering California in-house counsel under rules adopted by the Board of Governors.

(Subd (h) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (g) effective November 15, 2004.)

(i) Inherent power of Supreme Court

Nothing in this rule may be construed as affecting the power of the Supreme Court of California to exercise its inherent jurisdiction over the practice of law in California.

(Subd (i) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (h) effective November 15, 2004.)

(j) Effect of rule on multijurisdictional practice

Nothing in this rule limits the scope of activities permissible under existing law by attorneys who are not members of the State Bar of California.

(Subd (j) relettered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (i) effective November 15, 2004.)

Rule 9.46 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as rule 965 by the Supreme Court effective November 15, 2004.

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