Attorney of record

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An attorney of record is a lawyer or barrister who has appeared in court or signed pleadings.[1] The attorney of record in American or British courts remains the official lawyer, until some other attorney replaces him or her.[2] This attorney "has made an appearance on behalf of a party to a lawsuit."[3]

In most U.S. jurisdictions, an attorney must obtain court permission to terminate the status of attorney of record.[4] Attorneys of record cannot absolve themselves of their responsibilities to their clients by sending another attorney in his or her place.[5]

An attorney of record must inform the court, all parties (if pro se), and all other attorneys on the case when the attorney of record withdraws or files a motion to do so.[6][7] They must also quickly inform the court of any change of email address immediately.[8] An attorney of record must not "abandon" their client.[9]

Attorneys of record have some special privileges in certain courts and types of cases. They are on a short list of people, including the litigants, who may request certified copies of sealed divorce decrees.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ dictionary
  2. ^ See note 1, above.
  3. ^ Ballentine's Law Dictionary, p. 39
  4. ^ See, e.g., a California Court system form: [1], and a New York case, People v. Mack, 2007 NY Slip Op 02824 (3d Dep't 2007):[2]
  5. ^ George Constant, Inc. v. Berman, Index No. 604507/01 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty. 2003)
  6. ^ For instance, N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) 321(b)(2)
  7. ^ For examples of attorneys being allowed to withdraw ("leave of court"): see Benefield v City of New York, 2006 NYSlipOp 26482 (Sup. Ct., Bronx Cty. 2006); Messinger v The Mount Sinai Medical Center, N.Y. docket M-1214 (1st Dep't 2003).
  8. ^ See, 22 NYCRR Part 206, §202.5-b (2007), N.Y. Court of Claims rule, found at:[3]
  9. ^ See, e.g., Matter of Markuson, 2007 NY Slip Op 50128(U) (Surrogate's Ct., Dutchess Cty. 2007, by Pagones, J.)
  10. ^ See Kings County, New York (Borough of Brooklyn, New York) Clerk web page:[4]