NYSBA CLE: Ethics of the Legal Virtual Office in New York for Non-Resident Attorneys

By Stephen Furnari - November 3, 2015
NYSBA CLE: Ethics of the Legal Virtual Office in New York for Non-Resident Attorneys

Law Firm Suites’ founder, Stephen Furnari, to speak on December 4, 2015 at NYSBA CLE webcast about the ethics of the legal virtual office in New York for non-resident attorneys.

In June 2015, the Federal Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit heard oral arguments in the case Schoenefeld v. New York on the issue of whether the “legal office” requirement of New York State Judiciary Law Sec. 470 violates the privileges and immunities clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Under §470, all attorneys practicing in New York must have “an office for the transaction of law business” located within the State. However, resident attorneys are permitted to use their New York homes as their registered office, giving them an unfair advantage over non-resident attorneys who would be forced to rent office space that complies with the law if they want to practice in New York.

Judiciary Law §470 effectively prohibits the pure virtual practice of law (a law practice with no connection to a brick and mortar office) in New York by non-resident attorneys, a trend becoming increasing popular especially among budget conscious solos and small firms seeking to increase revenues by expanding into new geographic markets.

If held unconstitutional, Schoenefeld could have a major impact on the regulation of the virtual practice of law throughout the United States.

On December 4, 2015, the Law Practice Management Committee of the New York State Bar Association will be sponsoring a CLE webcast discussing the Schoenefeld case and the ethics of virtual law practice in New York.

Ekaterina Schoenefeld, the plaintiff in the Schoenefeld case, and Stephen T. Furnari, founder of Law Firm Suites, the leading provider of virtual office services for New York attorneys, will be panelists together with several others experts on the ethics of virtual law practice.

“When it comes to the virtual practice of law, there is a fair amount of nuance,” says Furnari who recently penned the article The Rise of the Legal Virtual Office: A Look at the Past Present and Future of the Virtual Practice of Law. “Combined with the absence of clear guidance by New York courts about Judiciary Law §470 and you get fair amount of anxiety about practicing law virtually in New York, especially by non-residents.”

Furnari will be discussing the different types of virtual law practice and the types virtual office services that would enable non-resident attorneys to comply with §470’s office requirement.

The NYSBA CLE webcast Virtual Practice After Schoenefeld v. New York: Where is Your Office? Practicing Law Virtually and Ethically will be held on Friday, December 4, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., with replays available shortly thereafter.

Attendees will earn 2.0 MCLE credits, including 1.0 credit hours for ethics.

Click here to register for this CLE on the NYSBA website.

About Stephen Furnari

Stephen Furnari is a self-employed corporate attorney and the founder of Law Firm Suites, the operator of coworking spaces for law firms. Through Law Firm Suites, Furnari has helped hundreds of attorneys launch and grow successful law practices. He is the author of several eBooks, including “7 Deadly Mistakes that Prevent Law Practice Success” and “An Insider’s Guide to Renting the Perfect Law Office”. Stephen has been featured in the ABA Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Daily News and Crain’s New York. Connect with Stephen on Twitter (@stephenfurnari).

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