New York Bar Wants New Rules for In-Person Notarizations Repealed

Following up on the news we reported last week about the new changes to New York’s notarization law, The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has now called for the repeal of a significant portion of the new statute. The section of the law that the Association wants repealed concerns how notarial acts are conducted in the state for lawyers who continue to provide services the old-fashioned way, in person.

The new law went into effect on February 1st, including for electronic notarizations that allow New York-based notaries to provide services to clients who are not within their physical proximity.

But the package contains rules that are unnecessary for notarial acts that are conducted in-person, the NYSBA said.

Under the new rules, notaries who provide in-person services are required to keep a journal of each document notarized, including the type of identification provided, for 10 years.

The Bar said that the record-keeping requirement has no basis in the enabling legislation and creates significant challenges for New York attorneys.

In calling for the revocation of that portion of the law, Bar Association President Sherry Levin Wallach said the rule is unworkable and will have a negative impact on attorneys and clients alike.

“The record-keeping and record retention regulations are superfluous for attorneys,” Levin Wallach said. “If these regulations are not repealed, attorneys notarizing documents in the regular course of their business should be exempt.”

Levin Wallach’s position is at odds with State Sen. James Skoufis, who sponsored the new law. Skoufis said he disagreed with the Bar’s depiction of the law change as unnecessary and burdensome.

“Keeping a journal with literally two columns of basic information is neither superfluous nor onerous,” Skoufis said. “Surely, attorneys can spare one minute of their time for each notarization they provide.”

A report from the Task Force on Notarization concluded the new rules are unnecessary for attorneys who are already bound by professional rules of conduct and predicted that the new rules will not have their intended effect of reducing fraud.

You can read more about this issue here.

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