Senate Passes, Assembly Committee Moves Repeal of Section 470

By Christian Nolan

Senate Passes, Assembly Committee Moves Repeal of Section 470

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The New York State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee voted today to advance NYSBA-backed legislation that would repeal Judiciary Law Section 470, which requires lawyers admitted to practice in New York – but residing in other states – to maintain a physical law office in New York State.

The measure next goes to the Assembly’s Rules Committee. This momentum comes about a week after the New York State Senate unanimously approved the legislation.

“The New York State Bar Association enthusiastically supports the repeal of this antiquated law,” said NYSBA President Scott M. Karson. “In our rapidly modernizing legal world, the profession has adapted with electronic filing of documents in the courts, virtual conferences and court proceedings, along with already established standards for perfecting service. Our laws must continue to adapt with the times too.

“Judiciary Law Section 470 places an onerous burden on rural and underserved communities and limits the availability of legal services simply because of where an attorney chooses to call home,” continued Karson. “The association will continue to advocate for its repeal and thanks the Senate for moving the bill one step closer to enactment.”

Nearly 25 percent of NYSBA members reside or practice outside the state of New York.

The outdated law was enacted in 1909 because the New York State Legislature then believed that a nonresident attorney without an office in New York would not be amenable to service of process.

In January 2019, NYSBA’s House of Delegates approved a resolution calling for the outright repeal of the law and approved the report and recommendations of its Working Group on Judiciary Law Section 470, which was appointed in 2016 to address concerns from members.

 

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