General Counsel Frustrated with Licensing Rules

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					GCC NEWS FEATURE                                                                                 1. 800.973.1177

General Counsel Frustrated with Licensing Rules
[By Jen Woods]
Frustration is brewing for many general counsel, as new licensing laws are being approved in more states. Abiding by the new rules, which require
lawyers to obtain limited licenses to practice in states in which they have not been admitted to the bar, can be costly and time-consuming.

The American Bar Association developed the         In 2002, the American Bar Association               Wisconsin-based companies for not being
new rules because it is increasingly common        proposed an amendment to the regulations            admitted to practice law in that state.
for lawyers to relocate to different states        clearly defining the requirements for lawyers
when changing jobs.                                who practice in multiple states. Part of            Bryan Blankfield, Executive Vice President
                                                   that amendment, known as Model Rule 5.5,            and General Counsel of Oshkosh Truck
Since 2002, 26 states have approved the new        allows general counsel to practice in states        Corporation; John “Jack” Hammond, General
rules. Most of the passed legislation has          without local licenses as long as they are          Counsel, Vice President, and Secretary of
gone into effect over the last two years, with     registered to practice elsewhere. More              Sensient Technologies Corporation; Robert
Utah and Washington recently following suit        than half of the states with limited licensing      Heath, Vice President and General Counsel of
in November and September, respectively.           rules have adopted Model 5.5 or similar             Briggs & Stratton Corporation; and W. David
                                                   regulations that apply to corporate counsel.        Romoser, Vice President, General Counsel,
Initially, general counsel advocated the new                                                           and Corporate Secretary of A.O. Smith
rules, which clarify that they are authorized      General counsel who do not obtain limited           Corporation were all placed in the spotlight
to practice law if they have not taken local       licenses subject themselves to public               by the blog.
bar exams.                                         scrutiny. For instance, Judge Thomas
                                                   Griffith of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals       Even though general counsel working in
However, obtaining a limited license is no         for the District of Columbia was criticized         Wisconsin do not need to be licensed in the
easy task. Many general counsel are not            last year because he was not licensed to            state, the bad publicity was damaging. “With
following the licensing rules because they         practice in Utah when he served as General          such high stakes, it is confounding that
have to fill out mountains of paperwork, pay       Counsel of Brigham Young University.                attorneys who make a career of practicing
expensive registration and annual fees, and,                                                           in Wisconsin are too lazy or indifferent to
in some instances, provide fingerprints for        In 2004, Virginia passed legislation that           get a license here. This is perplexing, since
background checks.                                 requires general counsel who have not               the state offers relatively simple access to
                                                   passed the state’s bar exam to obtain limited       license for qualifying attorneys,” Michael
“It’s a lot of paperwork for people who, in        licenses. In August, Richard Poulson, the           Horne commented on MilwaukeeWorld.
many cases, have been in practice for 5           then General Counsel of Smithfield Foods,
or more years,” Philip Crowley, Assistant          a Virginia-based pork processing company,
General Counsel at Johnson & Johnson,              was stripped of his legal title after a labor       ON THE NET
which has more than 00 corporate counsel          union pointed out that he was not licensed to
in New Jersey, told In-House Counsel.              practice in Virginia.                               American Bar Association
For instance, as of 2004, California general       However, in October, the Virginia Bar
counsel must complete continuing legal             Association concluded that Poulson did not          MilwaukeeWorld
education courses, pass a professional             violate the law, since he works primarily in
responsibility exam, and provide                   New York. Poulson’s title has since been
fingerprints. In New Jersey, general               changed to Vice President of External Affairs.      Virginia Bar Association
counsel must fill out a 26-page application,                                                 
pay a $750 registration fee, provide driving       A Wisconsin blog called MilwaukeeWorld
records, get fingerprinted, and take an            brought the licensing issue to the forefront
hour-long ethics course.                           when it released an investigative report
                                                   criticizing the general counsel of four


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