Saturday, May 17, 2014
In Re Roel case brief summary
In Re Roel (2 N.Y.2d 224, 1957)
F: Roel was not a member of the Mexican bar, but was a Mexican lawyer advising clients in New York city regarding Mexican law, although he avoided advising clients on New York law. He was adjudged in contempt for violating NY licensing, regulatory law and enjoined from giving legal advice or opinions.
I: Can a foreign lawyer practice foreign law in New York without being admitted to the New York bar?
R/H: Penal Law says it is unlawful for a person to practice law without being licensed to practice law in the courts of this state. The term law does not mean New York law alone.
• Foreign law specialists would not be subject to disciplinary action.
Dissent (Van Voorhis): The order is too broad, and we cannot restrain someone from calling themselves a Mexican attorney. Where New York is not affected, the Penal Code allows for practicing Mexican law.
• Application of such a doctrine in other foreign courts would prevent U.S. lawyers in large firms from advising in London or Germany.
• The doctrine of the injunction also seems to preclude practicing of law by foreign lawyers here in counseling New York lawyers, with whom they divide fees.
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