Supreme Court Approves Adoption of Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License

By order dated March 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted a new Rule 302 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules, which allow attorneys not admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania to obtain a Limited In-house Corporate Counsel License to work for corporations in Pennsylvania. The holder of such a license may perform the following services:

  1. giving legal advice to the directors, officers, employees, and agents of the business organization with respect to its business affairs;
  2. negotiating and documenting all matters for the business organization;
  3. representing the business organization in its dealings with any administrative agency or commission if authorized by the rules of the agency or commission.

The holder of a Limited In-house Corporate Counsel License may not perform the following legal services, which are limited to lawyers with full admission to the bar of Pennsylvania:

  1. represent their employer in any case or matter pending before the courts of this Commonwealth, unless they have been admitted pro hac vice;
  2. represent or give advice to any shareholder, owner, partner, officer, employee or other agent with respect to any personal matter or transaction;
  3. offer legal services or advice to any third party having dealings with the attorney’s employer; or
  4. offer legal services or advice to the public or hold themselves out as authorized to offer legal services or advice to the public.

Holders of Limited In-house Corporate Counsel Licenses are considered to be engaged in the practice of law and are subject to all duties and obligations of active members of the Pennsylvania bar including, but not limited to the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and the Rules of Continuing Legal Education.

The text of the Supreme Court's order is available online here.