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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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2006-05-03-02

The Supreme Court of South Carolina

In re: Amendments to Rules 408, 419, and 504 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules


O R D E R


The Commission on Continuing Legal Education (CLE) has proposed amending the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules concerning the dates for reporting compliance with CLE requirements. 

Pursuant to Article V, § 4, of the South Carolina Constitution, we hereby amend Rules 408(a), 419, and 504(b), South Carolina Appellate Court Rules, to change the date for members of the South Carolina Bar to file annual compliance reports with the Commission from January 1 to March 1.  Furthermore, the amendments change the reporting periods for both judges and lawyers from the current calendar year system.  For CLE credit hours for 2006, the annual reporting period shall begin January 1, 2006, and end February 28, 2007.  Thereafter, the annual reporting period shall run from March 1 through the last day in February.  This amendment does not affect the reporting period or compliance deadlines for magistrates and municipal judges, and does not affect the deadlines for judges to file their compliance reports pursuant to Rule 510, South Carolina Appellate Court Rules.  

The amendments are effective immediately. 

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
May 3, 2006


RULE 408
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION AND SPECIALIZATION

(a) Continuing Legal Education Requirements.  All persons admitted to the South Carolina Bar shall be required to attend at least fourteen (14) hours of approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses each year.  The annual reporting period for purposes of this Rule shall run from March 1 through the last day in February.  At least two (2) of the fourteen (14) hours required annually shall be devoted to legal ethics/professional responsibility.  Failure to meet these requirements will result in suspension from the practice of law pursuant to Rule 419, SCACR.  Only in cases involving extraordinary hardship or extenuating circumstances may this requirement be waived or modified.  The following members of the South Carolina Bar shall be exempt from these requirements:

(1) specialists certified pursuant to this Rule who satisfy the continuing legal education (CLE) requirements of their specialty;  provided, however, that at least two (2) hours of the CLE credits completed by certified specialists shall be devoted to legal ethics/professional responsibility;

(2) lawyers at least 60 years old who have been admitted to practice law for thirty (30) or more years, and who apply to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization for this exemption. (Exemptions granted prior to June 23, 1994 remain in effect). Provided, however, that if a lawyer who receives an exemption or is entitled to an exemption under this provision is suspended for a definite period of more than six (6) months under Rule 413, SCACR, this exemption shall not apply or be granted during the suspension period;

(3) lawyers, including members of the judiciary, who are not enrolled as “active members” of the Bar.  Provided, however, that except in the case of federal judges (including federal magistrates and federal administrative law judges), all judicial members of the Bar not required to fulfill the judicial continuing legal education requirements of Rule 504, SCACR, shall be considered “active members” for the purpose of satisfying the continuing legal education requirements of this Rule and shall not be entitled to an exemption therefrom based upon their status as “judicial members” of the Bar.

RULE 419
ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSIONS

(a) Applicability.  This rule governs suspensions by the South Carolina Bar, pursuant to the Bylaws of the South Carolina Bar, for failure to pay annual license fees, including the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection assessment, and/or by the Commission for Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, pursuant to the Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for Judges and Active Members of the South Carolina Bar, for failure to file a report establishing compliance with mandatory continuing legal education requirements and failure to pay the annual filing fee.

(b) Due Date of Fees and Reports. 

(1) Annual license fees and assessments required by the Bylaws of the South Carolina Bar and Rule 411(d)(1), SCACR, shall be due not later than January 1.  A lawyer who has failed to pay the annual license fees and assessments, including payment of any penalty established by the Bar, by January 31 will be automatically suspended by the Bar.  With the exception of retired members, the Bar shall not accept a license fee or assessment unless the lawyer provides the Bar with a current e-mail address. 

(2) Reports of compliance with continuing legal education requirements required by the Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for Judges and Active Members of the South Carolina Bar shall be due not later than March 1.  A lawyer who has failed to file a report of compliance and pay the annual filing fee, including payment of any penalty by the Commission, by March 31 will be automatically suspended by the Commission.  The reporting period for lawyers and judges shall run from March 1 through the last day in February, annually. 

(c) Failure to Comply.

(1) Promptly after January 31, the Bar shall notify the lawyers who have failed to pay the annual license fees and assessments, including payment of any penalty established by the Bar, that they have been suspended and that, if they have not complied and been reinstated by the Bar by March 1, their names will be published in the Advance Sheets.

(2) Promptly after March 31, the Commission shall notify the lawyers who have failed to file a report of compliance and pay the annual filing fee, including payment of any penalty by the Commission, that they have been suspended and that, if they have not complied and been reinstated by the Commission by May 1, their names will be published in the Advance Sheets.

(d) Reinstatement by Bar and Commission.

(1) The Bar shall forward a list of the lawyers who remain suspended after March 1 for failure to pay the annual license fees and assessments, including payment of any penalty established by the Bar, to the Clerk of the Supreme Court.  The names of those lawyers shall be published in the Advance Sheets. The suspended lawyers shall have until April 1 to comply and seek reinstatement through the Bar.

(2) The Commission shall forward a list of lawyers who remain suspended after May 1 for failure to file a report of compliance and pay the annual filing fee, including payment of any penalty by the Commission, to the Clerk of the Supreme Court.  The names of those lawyers shall be published in the Advance Sheets.  The suspended lawyers shall have until June 1 to seek reinstatement through the Commission.

(e) Suspension by Supreme Court.

(1) Promptly after April 1, the Bar shall forward a list of the lawyers who remain suspended for failure to pay annual license fees to the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court.  Those lawyers shall be suspended by order of the South Carolina Supreme Court and shall thereafter forward their certificate of admission to practice law in this state to the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

(2) Promptly after June 1, the Commission shall forward a list of the lawyers who remain suspended for failure to file reports of compliance with continuing legal education requirements to the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court.  Those lawyers shall be suspended by order of the South Carolina Supreme Court and shall thereafter forward their certificate of admission to practice law in this state to the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

(f) Reinstatement by Supreme Court.  Any lawyer seeking reinstatement after April 1, in the case of a lawyer suspended for failing to pay license fees, and June 1, in the case of a lawyer suspended for failing to file reports of Continuing Legal Education compliance must petition the South Carolina Supreme Court.  The petition for reinstatement shall comply with the requirements of Rule 32, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, to include a filing fee of $200.  The Court may take such action as it deems appropriate in acting on the petition for reinstatement, including, but not limited to, requiring the lawyer to appear before the Court for a hearing, referring the petition to the Committee on Character and Fitness or referring the petition to the Commission on Lawyer Conduct for investigation and a recommendation as to the propriety of reinstatement.

(g) Termination.  If a lawyer fails to seek reinstatement within three (3) years of being suspended by the Court, the lawyer’s membership in the South Carolina Bar shall be terminated and the lawyer’s name shall be removed from the roll of attorneys.  The lawyer must thereafter comply with Rule 402, SCACR, to be readmitted to the practice of law in this state.

RULE 504
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION OF THE JUDICIARY

(b) Continuing Legal Education Requirement.  A judge shall complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing legal education approved by the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization (Commission) each year.  The annual reporting period for purposes of this Rule shall run from March 1 through the last day in February.  A judge may be given credit in one or more succeeding reporting periods, not exceeding 3 such periods, for completing more than 15 hours of approved education during any one reporting period.