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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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2005-02-22-01
The Supreme Court of South Carolina

The Supreme Court of South Carolina

Re: Extension of Time for Administration
of the Amended Lawyer’s Oath.


O R D E R


By order dated October 22, 2003, this Court amended the Lawyer’s Oath contained in Rule 402(k), SCACR.  By order dated January 9, 2004, the Court stated that, except for certain out-of-state members, all members of the South Carolina Bar were required to attend a one-hour continuing legal education seminar on the oath, take the oath and certify on their South Carolina Bar 2005 Dues Statement that they had taken the oath.  Out-of-state members who do not live in South Carolina and do not engage in the practice of law in South Carolina were not required to take the CLE seminar, but were required to execute the new oath using a form provided by the South Carolina Bar.

On December 13, 2004, due to the number of members of the South Carolina Bar who had yet to meet these requirements, the Court issued an order extending the time to meet the requirements until February 28, 2005.  The order further provided that those members of the Bar who had not yet done so, must certify in writing, on a form provided by the South Carolina Bar, that they have taken the new oath and, if applicable, attended the accompanying CLE seminar, and the certification must be sent to the South Carolina Bar on or before March 1, 2005. [1]

It has now come to our attention that a significant, and frankly, disappointing number of members of the South Carolina Bar have still not met these requirements and, as of March 1, 2005, will be suspended and prohibited from practicing law in this State until reinstated.  We are not only disappointed that a significant number of attorneys in this State have failed to comply with an order of this Court, but that they have not taken seriously this opportunity to reaffirm their commitment and dedication to upholding the dignity, integrity and honor of their profession.  In addition, those members who have not complied with the oath requirements have not benefited from the sense of renewed dedication to the profession that those who have attended the accompanying CLE seminar have reported receiving from the experience.     

This Court, in adopting the amended oath, sought for this to be a positive opportunity and experience for members of the Bar.  Accordingly, in order to insure that everyone has had an adequate opportunity to take the new oath and attend the accompanying CLE, we extend the deadline for meeting these requirements, for a final time, to May 31, 2005.  Those members of the South Carolina Bar who have not yet done so must certify in writing that they have taken the new oath, to include the CLE seminar if applicable, on or before May 31, 2005.  This certification shall be done on the attached form and sent to the South Carolina Bar on or before June 1, 2005.

On June 1, 2005, any member who has not taken the new oath and the accompanying CLE seminar, if applicable, shall be automatically suspended from the practice of law in this state by the South Carolina Bar.  We emphasize that those members suspended at that time will be prohibited from practicing law in this State until reinstated.  The Bar shall notify these members of their suspension, and the Bar may reinstate a member upon a showing that the member has taken the new oath and the accompanying CLE seminar, if applicable, and payment of a $25 fee made payable to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.  If not reinstated by the South Carolina Bar before July 1, 2005, their names will be published in the Shearouse Advance Sheets.

The South Carolina Bar shall forward to this Court a list of the names of those members who remain suspended on August 1, 2005.  These members shall be suspended by order of this Court and shall thereafter forward their certificate of admission to practice law in this State to the Clerk of this Court.  Any petition for reinstatement shall be submitted as provided by Rule 419(f), SCACR, and, if not reinstated within three years of the date of being suspended by this Court, the member’s membership in the South Carolina Bar will be terminated as provided by Rule 419(g), SCACR.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

s/Jean H. Toal                                       C.J.
s/James E. Moore                                    J.
s/John H. Waller, Jr.                                 J.
s/E. C. Burnett, III                                       J.
s/Costa M. Pleicones                               J.

Columbia, South Carolina
February 22, 2005


[1] The order provides that on March 1, 2005, any member of the South Carolina Bar who has not taken the new oath and attended the accompanying CLE seminar shall be automatically suspended from the practice of law in this State by the South Carolina Bar.  As of that date, those members who have been suspended can no longer practice law in this state, and will be subject to discipline if they do so, until reinstated.  Those members are to be notified of their suspension and may be reinstated upon a showing that they have taken the new oath and attended the accompanying CLE seminar and after paying a $25 fee made payable to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.  The names of those members not reinstated by the South Carolina Bar before April 1, 2005 are to be published in the Shearouse Advance Sheets.  Those remaining on suspension by the South Carolina Bar as of May 1, 2005, shall be suspended by order of this Court and must forward their certificate of admission to practice law in this state to the Clerk of Court.