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Appellate Division - Second Department
Attorney Matters
Name Change Applications

Introduction
Administrative Changes
Change by Court Order

Introduction
The name under which an attorney is authorized to practice law is the name under which he or she was admitted to practice and which is recorded in the Roll of Attorneys and Counselors-at-Law maintained in the office of the Clerk of the Court. An attorney may not begin to practice under a different name without the prior approval of an application to do so by the Appellate Division in the Department in which he or she was admitted. Such a change may, under limited circumstances defined by law, be made administratively by the Clerk of the Court. All others require an application to the court for an order authorizing the change.
Administrative Changes
An attorney in good standing who was admitted to practice by the Appellate Division, Second Department, and who wishes to change the name under which he or she appears on the Roll of Attorneys and Counselors-at-Law may apply to do so as of right under three circumstances, namely, if he or she has (1) obtained a court order authorizing the change, (2) adopted a new surname as a result of marriage, or (3) resumed the use of a premarital surname after a divorce or annulment.

The application may be made by completing the court's Name Change Affidavit (PDF) form and mailing or delivering it in person to:

Attorney Matters Section
Appellate Division, Second Department
45 Monroe Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201

The affidavit must be accompanied by a certified copy of a court order authorizing the attorney to assume the name proposed (see Civil Rights Law § 63), a certificate of marriage registration, bearing the raised seal of the issuing jurisdiction, setting forth a changed marital surname (see Domestic Relations Law §§ 14, 15[1][b]; Civil Rights Law § 65[1]), or a certified copy of a judgment of divorce or annulment authorizing the resumption of use of a stated surname by which the attorney was known prior to marriage (see Domestic Relations Law § 240-a; Civil Rights Law § 65[2]). Upon the completion of processing, the Clerk of the Court will notify the attorney, in writing, that his or her name has been changed on the Roll of Attorneys and Counselors-at-Law. At that time the supporting documentation will be returned to the attorney applying for the name change, provided that he or she requests that the court do so and supplies a self-addressed, business-sized envelope with proper postage for that purpose.

Change by Court Order
There are often reasons to seek a change of the name under which an attorney is authorized to practice law that do not fall within the statutes permitting such a change to be made administratively and thus require the change to be made by court order. Among these are cases in which an attorney (1) adopts a new surname by reason of marriage, obtains the change on the Roll administratively, but afterwards decides that he or she wishes to resume practicing under the name under which he or she was originally admitted, or to drop one component of a marital, hyphenated surname, (2) wishes to adopt a new marital surname or resume the use of a premarital surname but his or her certificate of marriage or judgment of divorce or annulment does not set forth the surname to be adopted or resumed as required by the applicable statutes mentioned above, or (3) wishes to practice under the familiar form of the given names under which he or she was admitted to practice, such as “Jimmy Carter” rather than “James Earl Carter.”

Such an application may be made ex parte, by submitting an affidavit requesting the change and explaining the reason or reasons therefor. That affidavit should be accompanied by any documentation in the applicant’s possession tending to establish the grounds upon which the change of name is sought. An applicant for a court order changing the name under which he or she is authorized to practice law should use the court’s form Name Change Affidavit as a model and adapt it to fit the circumstances of his or her particular case. The affidavit and supporting documentation must be mailed or delivered to the address set forth above. Upon the completion of processing, the Clerk of the Court will supply the attorney with a copy of the court’s order deciding the application, indicating whether his or her name has been changed on the Roll of Attorneys and Counselors-at-Law. At that time the supporting documentation will be returned to the attorney applying for the name change, provided that he or she requests that the court do so and supplies a self-addressed, business-sized envelope with proper postage for that purpose.

New York State Unified Court System Lady Justice
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