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Midtown Manhattan. Photo: Mary Altaffer Midtown Manhattan. AP Photo: Mary Altaffer

I disagree with Henry M. Greenberg’s assessment that Judiciary Law Section 470 serves no purpose and should be repealed. Consider the difficulty I once encountered with a New York attorney who only maintained a “virtual office” with a New York address (a problem to which Mr. Greenberg alluded in his letter to the editor). I was advised by the building staff that no one was ever in that office. Apparently, the address was just used as a mail drop, and telephone calls were answered remotely by service. Due to security concerns, the building staff would not allow access to the upper floors to effect nail and mail service. That experience exposes a potential risk in not requiring an actual physical office in New York. Unless and until there is a mechanism for assuring that process can be effected in New York on out of state attorneys who practice in New York without having a physical “brick and mortar” office here, care should be taken before opening the flood-gates. Perhaps a fix could be requiring appointment of a New York agent for service of process, similar to the way in which corporations registering in New York appoint the Secretary of State as their agent. While they are at it, the legislators may want to plug the loophole that allows in-state attorneys to evade legal process by conducting their practice from phantom virtual offices.

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