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ACC Urges Illinois to Adopt Use of International In-house Counsel to Address Demands of Global Business Market

Posted: Apr 25, 2014

WASHINGTON (April 25, 2014) — Today, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global bar association representing more than 33,000 in-house counsel employed by over 10,000 organizations, filed a letter urging the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility to amend the state's rules of professional conduct to better reflect the needs of multinational corporations to hire in-house lawyers licensed outside of the United States.

In-house lawyers and the businesses they work for operate in an increasingly global economy, according to ACC. As stated in the letter, organizations retain in-house lawyers around the world, and need to move them to work where they can best meet the companies' legal needs, and thus, Illinois should amend its professional conduct rules to support that trend. ACC suggested that Illinois adopt a robust system for employing in-house foreign lawyers. As an alternative, the letter also proposed that the state could apply more modest changes based on American Bar Association (ABA) updates to Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5 last year.

"For Illinois-based companies, today's business environment knows no borders," said Amar Sarwal, vice president and chief legal strategist at ACC. "The Illinois Supreme Court should therefore support businesses in the state by allowing them to more easily retain international in-house counsel."

ACC filed the letter in conjunction with 28 chief legal officers and general counsel based in the state and its Chicago Chapter, which represents more than 2,000 in-house lawyers. Currently, the state's professional conduct rules do not easily allow in-house law departments to hire in-house lawyers from outside of the United States.

"In-house law departments are sophisticated legal consumers and don't need paternalistic regulations, which are more appropriately geared for less experienced clients," Sarwal added.

In October 2012, ACC urged the ABA to adopt a broad rule to allow U.S. companies to hire in-house lawyers from other countries. For more information on ACC's right to practice efforts, visit www.acc.com/advocacy.

About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global bar association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With more than 33,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter: @ACCinhouse.

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