(a) Purpose. This rule is adopted to foster and aid the clinical law programs of law schools. These programs provide legal services to those who are unable to afford private legal counsel and educate law students in providing these legal services.
(b) Qualifications for Admission. The Supreme Court may issue a limited certificate of admission to practice law in South Carolina to any person who:
(1) is employed full-time by a law school within this State which has been approved by the American Bar Association and is responsible for supervising or teaching in the clinical law program operated by the law school;
(2) provides legal services solely in connection with the supervision of or instruction in the law school's clinical law program;
(3) neither requests nor receives compensation or remuneration of any kind for legal services from the person for whom the services are rendered;
(4) is at least twenty-one years of age;
(5) is a person of good moral character;
(6) has received a JD or LLB degree from a law school that was approved by the Council of Legal Education of the American Bar Association at the time the degree was conferred;
(7) has been admitted to practice law in the highest court of another state or the District of Columbia for at least three (3) years;
(8) is a member in good standing in each jurisdiction where he is admitted to practice law;
(9) has not been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law and is not the subject of any pending disciplinary proceeding in any other jurisdiction; and,
(10) has not, within the last five (5) years, been denied admission to a bar for character or ethical reasons or disciplined for professional misconduct.
(c) Application. An attorney desiring a limited certificate of admission shall file with the Clerk of the Supreme Court an application in duplicate on a form prescribed by the Supreme Court. The application shall be accompanied by a certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction in which the attorney has been admitted to practice law and a statement signed by the Dean of the law school at which the attorney is employed stating that the attorney meets the requirements of (b)(1)-(3) above.
(d) Reference to the Committee on Character and Fitness. Any questions concerning the fitness or qualifications of an attorney applying for a limited certificate of admission to practice law may be referred by the Court to the Committee on Character and Fitness for a hearing and recommendation.
(e) Confidentiality. The confidentiality provisions of Rule 402(n), SCACR, shall apply to all files and records of the Committee on Character and Fitness and the Clerk of the Supreme Court relating to a limited certificate to practice law under this rule.
(f) Rights and Obligations. The performance of legal services in this State by an attorney issued a limited certificate of admission to practice law shall be deemed the active engagement in the practice of law and shall subject the attorney to all duties and obligations of regular members of the South Carolina Bar and to all rules on the practice of law, including the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 407, SCACR, and the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR. The attorney shall not, however, need to comply with the requirements of Rule 403, SCACR. The attorney shall pay the fee specified by Rule 410, SCACR, and shall be subject to suspension under Rule 419, SCACR, for failing to pay those license fees or for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements.
(g) Unauthorized Practice. If an attorney granted a limited certificate engages in the practice of law in excess of that permitted by this rule, the attorney may be subject to discipline under Rule 413, SCACR, a revocation of the limited certificate by the Supreme Court, or being held in contempt of the Supreme Court for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
(h) Misconduct and Incapacity. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, the procedures provided by Rule 413, SCACR, shall be used for resolving allegations that the attorney has committed ethical misconduct or suffers from a physical or mental condition which adversely affects the attorney's ability to practice law. If, however, the Supreme Court imposes a definite suspension or disbarment, or transfers the attorney to incapacity inactive status, the limited certificate shall be terminated as provided in (i) below. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the attorney may seek to be readmitted as an attorney under this rule or any other rule until the period of suspension has expired or, in the case of disbarment, until five years after the date of the opinion or order imposing the disbarment.
(i) Termination of Certificate. The limited certificate of admission to practice law shall terminate if:
(1) The limited certificate is revoked by the Supreme Court under (g) above.
(2) The attorney is admitted to practice law in South Carolina under Rule 402, SCACR, or is granted another limited certificate of admission to practice law under this or any other rule, or is licensed as a foreign legal consultant under Rule 424, SCACR.
(3) The attorney is suspended or disbarred from the practice of law in this or any other jurisdiction. This does not include interim suspensions under Rule 17 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement contained in Rule 413, SCACR, or a similar rule in another jurisdiction. For an administrative suspension under Rule 419, SCACR, the attorney may seek reinstatement as provided in that rule.
(4) The attorney fails at any time to be a member of the bar in good standing before the highest court of at least one other state or the District of Columbia.
(5) The attorney ceases to meet the requirements of (b)(1)-(3) above.
(j) Resignation. Any request by an attorney licensed under this rule shall be processed as provided by Rule 409, SCACR.
(k) Surrender of Certificate. Upon the termination of the limited certificate of admission to practice law or the acceptance of a resignation, the attorney shall immediately surrender the certificate to the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The failure to immediately surrender the certificate upon termination or the acceptance of a resignation may subject the attorney to discipline under Rule 413, SCACR, or to being held in contempt of the Supreme Court.
Last amended by Order dated May 7, 2012, effective January 1, 2013.