RE: Extension of Time Regarding the Administration of
the Amended Lawyer's Oath
In October 2003, this Court revised the lawyer's oath contained in Rule 402(k), SCACR. By order dated January 9, 2004, this Court required all members of the South Carolina Bar to certify that they had taken the revised lawyer's oath contained in Rule 402(k), SCACR, in their 2005 License Fee Statement from the South Carolina Bar.
Except for certain out-of-state members, all members of the South Carolina Bar are required to take the oath in conjunction with a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar developed for the administration of the new oath. As to out-of-state members, a member who does not live in South Carolina and does not engage in the practice of law in South Carolina is not required to take the CLE seminar,1 but is required to execute the new oath using a form provided by the South Carolina Bar.
It now appears that a number of the members of the Bar will not have taken the new oath and the accompanying CLE seminar in time to certify that they have taken the new oath before January 1, 2005, the due date of the 2005 Bar License Fee. Accordingly, we hereby extend the period to take the new oath until February 28, 2005.
Members of the Bar who do not certify that they have completed the new oath in their 2005 License Fee Statement2 must certify in writing that they have taken the new oath, to include the CLE seminar, if applicable, on or before February 28, 2005. This certification shall be done on the attached form and sent to the South Carolina Bar on or before March 1, 2005.
On March 1, 2005, any member who has not taken the new oath and any required CLE seminar shall be automatically suspended from the practice of law in this State by the South Carolina Bar. 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 any required CLE seminar, and paid a $25 fee made payable to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. If not reinstated by the South Carolina Bar before April 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 May 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/E.C. Burnett, III J.
s/Costa M. Pleicones J.
Columbia, South Carolina
December 13, 2004
1This Court's order of January 9, 2004, exempted members who do not live in South Carolina and do not "undertake representation of any cases in South Carolina" from having to complete the CLE seminar for the new oath. The South Carolina Bar, in providing advice to members about the meaning of this language, has interpreted the word "cases" in a broad manner to mean any matters, not just court cases. We agree with this interpretation, and further clarify our intent by indicating in this order that this exemption is only applicable to out-of-state members who do not engage in the practice of law in South Carolina.
2In the License Fee Statement, the South Carolina Bar is not requiring the member to sign a certification regarding the taking of the oath. Instead, if the records of the South Carolina Bar already indicate that the member has completed the required oath, the Fee Statement states that the Bar's records show that the oath has been completed and asks the member to correct this information if inaccurate. Returning this form without a correction is equivalent to a certification by the member that he or she has taken the oath and any required CLE seminar.
If the records of the Bar fail to disclose that the member has taken the oath, the License Fee Statement advises the member of this fact and asks the member to correct this information if it is inaccurate. If the member provides a correction indicating that the member has taken the oath, this is equivalent to a certification by the member that he or she has taken the oath and any required CLE Seminar.