CPBO Provides Updates on MJP for CCJ and COSCA

MJP ReportHas it been a year already? Last summer, PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent, CPBO Director Eve Runyon, and Walgreen Co.** General Counsel Thomas Sabatino presented at the annual meeting of Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) to the CCJ Professionalism and Competence of the Bar Committee and the CCJ/COSCA Access, Fairness and Public Trust Committee on the burdensome multijurisdictional practice (MJP) rules that restrict some in-house lawyers from providing pro bono services.  At that meeting, the CCJ and COSCA adopted Resolution 11, which asks CCJ members to “consider promoting the expansion of pro bono legal services, including by amending the practice rules to allow non-locally licensed in-house counsel who are permitted to work for their employer to also provide pro bono legal services subject to the local rules of professional conduct.”

Since then, CPBO provided updated information regarding MJP for the CCJ’s January 2012 meeting and the CCJ/COSCA annual meeting last month.  Highlights from the most recent update included:

  • An overview of growing efforts in support of changing restrictive practice rules and empowering in-house counsel to provide pro bono legal services;
  • A summary of recent amendments adopted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Minnesota that open the door to greater pro bono participation by in-house counsel;
  • A description of a Illinois Supreme Court amendment that removes unnecessary restrictions on limited license in-house attorneys providing pro bono legal services, allowing for even broader participation in pro bono;
  • Mention of several jurisdictions, such as Arizona, Florida, New York, and Ohio, where the courts are considering amendments to current practice rules; and
  • Mention of the District of Columbia and Wisconsin, where the D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law and the State Bar of Wisconsin, respectively, are working on amendments to recommend to the courts.

The Professionalism and Competence of the Bar Committee of the CCJ expressed its appreciation for the update.

CPBO is encouraged by the progress made so far, but there are still many states that either do not expressly permit registered in-house counsel to provide pro bono services or permit registered in-house counsel to provide pro bono services but subject them to several unnecessary limitations.

For more information or to join our effort to change the rules in other jurisdictions, contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.

**denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM