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 a qualified 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.

What is a qualified employer?
A qualified employer is defined as a nongovernmental employer, the business of which is lawful and consists of activities other than the practice of law or the provision of legal services.  A qualified employer shall include the employing entity, or its organizational affiliates, including entities that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with the employer; employees, officers, and directors of such entities.  Gov. Bar R. VI, Sec. 6(A)(2).

Who qualifies for corporate counsel registration?
An attorney who is admitted to the practice of law in another state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, but not in Ohio, and who is employed by a qualified employer and has a systematic and continuous presence in Ohio as permitted in Prof. Cond. R. 5.5(d)(1), shall register for corporate counsel status.

How do I apply for corporate counsel registration?
An attorney may apply for corporate counsel status registration by submitting the following:

  1. Certificate of Registration;
  2. A Corporate Counsel Questionnaire;
  3. An Affidavit of Employer; and
  4. A non-refundable $500 application fee and 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 60 days prior to submission of the corporate counsel application.

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 provided by the attorney and verified by the employer. (Please see Fee Schedule, below.)

Fee Schedule for 2019/2021 Biennium

Start of Ohio Practice date: Sept. 1, 2019 - Aug. 31, 2020 - $350
Start of Ohio Practice date: Sept. 1, 202- - April 30, 2021 - $175
Start of Ohio Practice date: May 1, 2021 - Aug. 31, 2021 - 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, in the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, but not in Ohio, who is employed by or associated with, or a partner in a 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. Attorneys registering for corporate counsel status for the first time must comply with New Lawyers Training requirements. For additional information, visit the Supreme Court of Ohio website.

Please contact the Commission on Continuing Legal Education for additional information.

What if I fail to register for corporate counsel status?
If you are admitted to the practice of law in another state, in the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, but not in Ohio, and you perform legal services in Ohio for your employer and you fail to register for corporate counsel status within 180 days of providing legal services in Ohio or you do not qualify for such registration, you shall 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 file Notice of Termination of Corporate Counsel Status with the Office of Attorney Services in writing upon termination of employment with the employer.

Where can I obtain additional information about corporate registration?
Please refer to Gov. Bar R. VI , Sec. 6, or contact the Office of Attorney Services by telephone (614.387.9320) or email.

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