Refresher on NJ Limited Licensing (and Temporary Attorneys)
The State's limited license rule (Rule 1:27-2) was originally published in late 2003 and several clarifying rulings have been published by the NJ Supreme Court since early 2004. This may be a good time to review the broad scope of the limited licensing rule. Information on the Rule, the Board of Bar Examiners forms, and the NJ Supreme Court's Supplemental Administrative Determinations can be found at: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/supreme_doc/njbarexams/
The Rule applies to any in-house attorney "practicing law" (broadly defined) in the State. This applies to any in-house lawyer with an office in the state as well as any in-house attorney who practices law in New Jersey regardless of where their office is physically located (e.g., they work in the corporate offices in Delaware). Thus, this Rule may apply to one of your non-New Jersey corporate colleagues who advices clients in New Jersey from time to time. If you are a litigator practicing in New Jersey, then besides applying for the limited license, you are also required to apply pro hac vice for any court appearance.
Newly hired in-house attorneys must apply for the limited license within sixty days of the date they commence employment. In-house counsel with a limited license who change employers must also provide notice of the change to the Board of Bar Examiners. Limited license attorneys are also subject to the State's mandatory CLE.
Temporary attorneys (assigned through a staffing agency) need to have a plenary license to practice law in the State. The NJ Supreme Court has specifically stated that the temporarily employed in-house counsel must hold a NJ plenary license and be in good standing at the New Jersey Bar. The Court indicated that temporary employed in-house counsel are not eligible to practice under the limited license. The same rule does not apply to part-time employees who hold a limited license: for example, employed in-house attorneys who switch from full-time to part-time for their employer may continue to practice under their limited license for the same employer.
Other states have passed similar registration or licensing requirements for in-house attorneys. For information on other states' rules, see the research published at the Association of Corporate Counsel website: www.acc.com.