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2003-08-21-01 The Supreme Court of South Carolina

The Supreme Court of South Carolina

In re: Amendments to Rule 31(f), Rules for Lawyer
Disciplinary Enforcement, Rule 413, SCACR.


ORDER


Pursuant to Article V, § 4, of the South Carolina Constitution, we hereby amend Rule 31(f) of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement to (1) emphasize that attorneys appointed pursuant to Rule 31(a), RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, to protect the interests of clients in attorney disciplinary matters are, with the exception of basic costs set forth in the rule, expected to serve without compensation as a service to the legal profession; (2) give this Court the discretion to award additional costs in certain situations and to determine a reasonable amount to be awarded; (3) set forth the current rates which the Court has determined are reasonable for attorney's fees, support staff and copies; and (4) provide that costs awarded by the Court are to be paid by the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection only if there are not sufficient funds remaining in the lawyer's accounts. Finally, the rule is amended to give this Court the ability to order the lawyer to reimburse the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection at any time. These amendments shall be effective immediately. A copy of the rule, as amended, is attached.

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
August 21, 2003


AMENDMENTS TO RULE 31(f), RULES FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT,
RULE 413, SCACR

(f)  Compensation and Expenses.  With the exception of reasonable and necessary expenses, such as postage, telephone bills, copies, supplies and the cost of publishing legal notice in the newspaper, an appointed attorney shall serve without compensation as a service to the legal profession.  However, the Supreme Court may order that the appointed attorney be reimbursed a reasonable amount for other expenses, such as the appointed attorney's time or the time of support staff, when it determines that extraordinary time and services were necessary for the completion of the required duties or when the appointment has worked a substantial hardship on the appointed attorney's practice.  The Supreme Court shall determine the reasonableness of necessary expenses and other expenses. [1]   Expenses which are approved and awarded by the Supreme Court shall be paid from funds remaining in the lawyer's accounts.  If no such funds exist, payment shall be made from the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection under Rule 411, SCACR.  If the appointed attorney's expenses are paid by the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, the Supreme Court may order the lawyer to reimburse that Fund.


[1] In an effort to balance the need to preserve the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection with the need to, in certain situations, reimburse attorneys appointed pursuant to Rule 31, RLDE, Rule 413, SCACR, the following rates are currently established for reimbursement of the appointed attorney's fees, support staff costs and the cost of copies, but are subject to change at the discretion of the Court.

Appointed Attorney's Fees $50.00 per hour
Support Staff $10.00 per hour
Copies $0.10 per page