National Mobility Agreement update

Rules improve options for in-house counsel in BC from other provinces

Changes to Law Society Rule 2-49.1 make it easier for some lawyers who transferred to BC as in-house counsel to move into new practice situations.

Law Society Rule 2-49.1 permits a lawyer from another province to be called and admitted in British Columbia as in-house counsel if the lawyer is transferring to BC to practise law solely for his or her employer without having to write and pass the transfer or qualification examinations. The lawyer is, however, restricted to practising only on behalf of the lawyer’s employer, subsidiaries or affiliates.

The Rule gives the Credentials Committee the discretion to relieve a lawyer from the restriction of practising only as in-house counsel provided the lawyer writes and passes an examination.

As recently revised, the Rule alternatively permits the Committee to relieve a lawyer of the restriction of practising as in-house counsel on successful completion of a prescribed reading requirement, provided that the lawyer is entitled to practise law in a reciprocating jurisdiction under the National Mobility Agreement (or at the time of transfer was entitled to practise law in a jurisdiction that is now a reciprocating jurisdiction). This provision places all in-house counsel from reciprocating jurisdictions on an equal footing, regardless of when they transferred to BC.

The Committee may also relieve from the restriction any lawyer who has practised in BC for two years, on completion of the prescribed reading requirement.