August 9, 2022

Volume XII, Number 221

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August 08, 2022

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Registered In-House Counsel Is Not An Option For The Government

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of a general counsel for the Department of Financial Protection & Innovation.  The appointee, a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, had previously served as a Senior Attorney for several years at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  However, the appointment raised just one question - the appointee was not a member of the California bar.

California has several programs that permit attorneys from other U.S. jurisdictions to practice in California.  One of these programs is for Registered In-House Counsel.   This program allows a non-California attorney to  provide legal services in California exclusively for a qualifying institution that employs the attorney.   Rule 9.46(a) of the California Rules of Court defines "qualifying institution" as "means a corporation, a partnership, an association, or other legal entity, including its subsidiaries and organizational affiliates, which has an office located in California".  A "qualifying institution" must either: (i) employ at least five full time employees; or (ii) employ in California an attorney who is an active licensee in good standing of the State Bar of California.

.The rule, however, also provides that "Neither a governmental entity nor an entity that provides legal services to others can be a qualifying institution for purposes of this rule".  Because this seemed to be a bar to the DFPI's employment of a non-California attorney as general counsel, this writer contacted the Governor's office for clarification.  Late last week, I received a response.   I was informed that the Governor's press release has been "updated" to state that the appointee will occupy the position of Deputy Commissioner at the DFPI and will not be serving as general counsel.  

© 2010-2022 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 186
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About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm
Partner

Keith Bishop works with privately held and publicly traded companies on federal and state corporate and securities transactions, compliance, and governance matters. He is highly-regarded for his in-depth knowledge of the distinctive corporate and regulatory requirements faced by corporations in the state of California.

While many law firms have a great deal of expertise in federal or Delaware corporate law, Keith’s specific focus on California corporate and securities law is uncommon. A former California state regulator of securities and financial institutions, Keith has decades of...

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