Appellate Division Homepage

Attorney Matters

Resignation for Non-Disciplinary Reasons from the Bar of the State of New York


Persons admitted to the bar of the State of New York sometimes seek to resign as attorneys and counselors-at-law. Often the resignation is occasioned by an attorney’s move to a different state, his or her cessation of practice in New York, and the voluntary desire to avoid the continued payment of the biennial registration fee required by Judiciary Law § 468-a. Some attorneys, who still reside in the state, no longer practice and they too wish to voluntarily resign and avoid payment of the registration fee. Other attorneys tender their resignations involuntarily while facing charges of misconduct before one of the court’s Grievance Committees.

This page pertains to a non-disciplinary resignation only (22 NYCRR 1240.22). Attorneys facing misconduct charges and contemplating involuntary resignation should consult with counsel and submit their resignation in writing through the appropriate Grievance Committee.

Retirement as an Alternative to Payment of Registration Fee or Resignation

There is an alternative to either payment of the required biennial registration fee or voluntary resignation from the bar that applies in a limited number of cases, namely, certification that the attorney has retired from the active practice of law. New York does not recognize an “inactive” status at its bar. All attorneys must register biennially and, except for those who certify that they have retired, must pay the required fee (Judiciary Law § 468-a[4]). An attorney may certify that he or she is retired from the practice of law when, other than the performance of legal services without compensation, he or she does not practice law in any respect, in any jurisdiction, and does not intend ever to engage in acts that constitute the practice of law (22 NYCRR 118.1[g]). For those attorneys who have not retired, the failure to register and pay the required fee constitutes conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and must be reported to the appropriate Appellate Division for disciplinary action (Judiciary Law § 468-a[5]). The answers to frequently asked questions about attorney registration may be found on the pages of the Unified Court System.

If an attorney has retired from the active practice of law in New York and in all other jurisdictions in which he or she is admitted to practice, he or she may certify on the attorney registration form sent by the Office of Court Administration that he or she is retired from the practice of law. As a retired attorney, he or she will no longer incur the obligations of paying the biennial attorney registration fee or obtaining the requisite number of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. In the event that the retired attorney chooses to resume the practice of law in the future, he or she must contact the attorney registration section of the Office of Court Administration, inform it of the change in status, pay the attorney registration fee, and satisfy the CLE requirements on a prospective basis. If a person registers as a retired attorney, he or she may still perform legal services without compensation (22 NYCRR 118.1[g]) and his or her only obligation will be to complete and file the biennial registration form with the Office of Court Administration.

How to Resign

A non -disciplinary resignation from the bar by an attorney admitted to practice by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, must be properly tendered to the court on the official Form Non-Disciplinary Resignation Affidavit (PDF) . Before submitting that affidavit, the attorney should clearly understand that resignation will prevent him or her from practicing law in this state in the future without first successfully seeking reinstatement to the bar.