Corporate Counsel Status Registration

What does corporate counsel status registration mean?
An attorney registered for corporate counsel status may perform legal services in Ohio solely for a nongovernmental employer as long as the attorney is an employee of the nongovernmental employer. A corporate attorney may not practice before any court or agency in Ohio on behalf of his or her employer or any person except himself or herself, unless granted leave of the court or agency.

Who qualifies for corporate counsel registration?
An attorney who is admitted to the practice of law in another state or in the District of Columbia, but not in Ohio, and who is employed by a nongovernmental employer and, as a result of that employment has a systematic and continuous presence in Ohio as permitted in Prof. Cond. R. 5.5(d)(1), shall register for corporate counsel status by completing a Certificate of Registration and a Corporate Counsel Questionnaire and paying the applicable registration fee. The registration fee is determined by the date the attorney began or will begin to provide legal services for a nongovernmental employer (“Start of Ohio Practice” date), as indicated in the attorney’s response in Section II of the Corporate Counsel Questionnaire. (Please see Fee Schedule, below.)

Fee Schedule for 2013/2015 Biennium

Start of Ohio Practice date: September 1, 2013 - August 31, 2014 - $350
Start of Ohio Practice date: September 1, 2014 - April 30, 2015 - $175
Start of Ohio Practice date: May 1, 2015 - August 31, 2015 - No Fee

To avoid a $50 late fee, corporate counsel status registrations must be received by the Office of Attorney Services within 30 days of the attorney’s Start of Ohio Practice date.

Corporate counsel registration is effective and may be renewed biennially only as long as the attorney is employed by a nongovernmental employer.

Who does not qualify for corporate counsel registration?
An attorney admitted to the practice of law in Ohio is not eligible for corporate counsel status registration. Furthermore, corporate counsel status registration does not apply to an attorney admitted to the practice of law in another state or in the District of Columbia, but not in Ohio, who is employed by, associated with, or a partner in an Ohio law firm. Until such attorney is admitted to the practice of law in Ohio, the attorney shall not practice law in Ohio, hold himself or herself out as authorized to practice law in Ohio, or practice before any nonfederal court or agency in Ohio on behalf of any person, except himself or herself, unless granted leave of the court or agency. The law firm may include the name of the attorney on the letterhead only if the letterhead includes a designation that the attorney is not admitted in Ohio.

Are corporate counsel status attorneys required to comply with continuing legal education requirements?
Yes. Please contact the Commission on Continuing Legal Education for additional information. NOTE: Effective November 1, 2008, attorneys registering for corporate counsel status for the first time must comply with New Lawyers Training requirements. For additional information, visit www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/CLE/nlt/default.asp.

What if I fail to register for corporate counsel status?
If you are admitted to the practice of law in another state or in the District of Columbia, but not in Ohio, and you perform legal services in Ohio for your employer and you fail to register for corporate counsel status or you do not qualify for such registration, you may be referred for investigation of the unauthorized practice of law and you may be precluded from applying for admission without examination.

How do I notify the Office of Attorney Services when I am no longer eligible for corporate counsel status registration?
An attorney registered for corporate counsel status shall promptly notify the Office of Attorney Services in writing upon termination of employment with the employer.

How do I apply for corporate counsel registration?
An attorney wishing to apply for corporate counsel status registration must complete a Certificate of Registration and a Corporate Questionnaire and submit both forms, along with the applicable registration fee, to:

Office of Attorney Services
Supreme Court of Ohio
65 South Front Street, 5th Floor
Columbus, Ohio, 43215-3431

Attorneys also must submit a certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction in which the attorney has ever been admitted.  The certificate must be dated no earlier than 30 days prior to submission of the corporate counsel application.

The appropriate amount of the registration fee is determined by the date the attorney began or will begin to provide legal services for a nongovernmental Ohio employer (Start of Ohio Practice date), as indicated in the attorney's response in Section II of the Corporate Counsel Questionnaire. (Please see Fee Schedule, below.)

Fee Schedule for 2013/2015 Biennium

Start of Ohio Practice date:  September 1, 2013 – August 31, 2014 - $350
Start of Ohio Practice date:  September 1, 2014 – April 30, 2015 - $175
Start of Ohio Practice date:  May 1, 2015 – August 31, 2015 - No Fee

To avoid a $50 late fee, corporate status registrations must be received by the Office of Attorney Services within 30 days of the attorney’s Start of Ohio Practice date.

Where can I obtain additional information about corporate registration?
Please refer to Gov. Bar R. VI , Sec. 3, or contact the Office of Attorney Services by telephone (614.387.9320) or e-mail.

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