Court Amends Rule Affecting Non-Member Pro Bono Internal Counsel

July 24, 2014

On July 16 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an order amending the Rules of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (D.C. App. Rule 49). The amendment, proposed by the Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law, will allow internal counsel who are not members of the D.C. Bar to provide pro bono legal services in the District, as long as they meet a number of requirements.

Under Rule 49 (c)(9)(D), an internal counsel who is not a member of the D.C. Bar may provide pro bono legal services assigned or referred by an organization that provides legal services to the public without fee. The attorney must be supervised by an active member of the D.C. Bar, must be a member in good standing of the highest court of a state or territory, must not be disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons, and must not have resigned with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court.

A comment in the order explained that the amendment was added in recognition of the importance of access to justice and the increased need for attorneys to serve as pro bono counsel in the District.

The amended rule is effective September 1.

View the complete order.