Rule XIII governs authorization of house counsel attorneys. The Alabama house counsel rules allow eligible out-of-state attorneys to practice law in Alabama without going through the formal process of being admitted to the Alabama Bar. The rule is intended to facilitate the relocation of attorneys working exclusively for a “business organization” in Alabama.
House attorneys must:
House attorneys must be exclusively employed by a business organization located in Alabama or relocating to Alabama in furtherance of such employment within six months of the application for registration. The attorney must also receive, or shall receive, compensation for activities performed for that business organization.
A “business organization” includes a corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity (together with its parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates) that is authorized to transact business in Alabama. The business cannot itself be engaged in the practice of law or the rendering of legal services outside of the organization, for a fee or otherwise, and cannot not charge or collect a fee, other than from entities constituting the business organization, for the representation or advice of authorized house counsel. Business organizations do not include a government entity, government subdivision, political subdivision, school board or any other entity that has the authority to levy a tax.
Attorneys may provide legal services in Alabama but those services are limited to the following:
*Attorneys must provide disclosures when negotiating and drafting matters or representing the business organization in front of an administrative agency/commission. Attorneys have to disclose in writing to the party with whom they are negotiating or to the administrative agency/commission of the attorney’s authorized house counsel capacity. The disclosure must include the name of the business organization, the title or function of authorized house counsel, and a statement that authorized house counsel is not licensed to practice law in Alabama. The disclosure will be transmitted in a manner reasonably contemplated to create an awareness of the attorney’s status with respect to the relevant activity. Authorized house counsel attorneys cannot represent that they are members of the Alabama Bar or licensed to practice in Alabama.
Attorneys are subject to the Alabama disciplinary rules and procedures.
Application and Certification
House attorneys are required to file the required Application, affidavits, and supporting documents.
Annual registration is required.
Termination occurs at the earliest of the following events:
Attorneys are required to notify the Alabama State Bar within 30 days of the cessation event. Attorneys suspended or disbarred in another jurisdiction must file a copy of the order or judgment with the Alabama State Bar within 30 days of the order or judgment. Failure to notify the Alabama State Bar is a basis for discipline in Alabama. Upon receipt of notification, revocation of authority will be sent to the attorney. Previously registered house counsel may reapply.
The Alabama State Bar and the Disciplinary Commission of the Alabama State Bar may temporarily or permanently terminate the registration of authorized house counsel.