TITLE 204—JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART IV. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW
[ 204 PA CODE CH. 71 ]
Proposed Amendment to Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules; New Rule 304—Limited Admission of Military Spouse Attorneys
[48 Pa.B. 5715]
[Saturday, September 15, 2018]
Notice is hereby given that the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners (Board) is considering recommending to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it amend its rules to add Rule 304 to the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules concerning limited admission for spouses of active duty members of the United States Uniformed Services (military spouse) as set forth in Annex A.
The Board is proposing to amend the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules by adopting a new rule that permits the attorney spouse of a military spouse to be admitted to fully practice law in Pennsylvania without having to pass the bar examination or meet the waive-in requirements under Pa.B.A.R. 204. The license is valid as long as the military spouse is on active duty and currently stationed in Pennsylvania or assigned to duty outside the United States and was last stationed in Pennsylvania. The attorney spouse must be licensed in another jurisdiction, in good standing, and not currently be admitted to practice in Pennsylvania under another Pennsylvania bar admission rule.
The Board is proposing this rule to alleviate the difficulty faced by military spouses and their families when serving this country. Active duty service members are frequently reassigned to different states and often their spouses move with them. Because the attorney spouse does not choose the state in which the military spouse is stationed, the attorney spouse may have difficulty meeting the current requirements for admission into the Pennsylvania bar.
The military spouse, and consequently the attorney spouse, make many sacrifices to serve this country. The Board is attempting to lessen this burden on attorney spouses and, by doing so, also lessen the burden on the military spouse. Pennsylvania has only a few military installations. It has been estimated that there were approximately 2,600 active duty personnel assigned to permanent duty stations in Pennsylvania in 2016, making it likely that the number of attorney spouses seeking admission would be very small. However, the rule's impact on the military families it would assist would be significant and would go a long way toward showing Pennsylvania's support of military members and their families.
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed amendments to the Counsel to the Board, Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, Pennsylvania Judicial Center, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 3600, P.O. Box 62535, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2535, no later than October 15, 2018.
By The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
GICINE P. BRIGNOLA,
TITLE 204. JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART IV. ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW
CHAPTER 71. PENNSYLVANIA BAR ADMISSION RULES
Subchapter C. RESTRICTED PRACTICE OF LAW
(Editor's Note: The following rule is added and printed in regular type to enhance readability.)
Rule 304. Limited Admission of Spouses of Active-Duty Service Members of the United States Uniformed Services.
An applicant may apply for limited admission to the practice of law in Pennsylvania as a spouse of an active-duty service member of the United States Uniformed Services if all requirements of this rule are satisfied.
An applicant who seeks admission pursuant to this rule:
(1) must be present in Pennsylvania as the spouse of an active-duty member of the United States Uniformed Services who is (A) assigned to duty in Pennsylvania or (B) assigned to duty outside the United States but whose last assignment within the United States was in Pennsylvania;
(2) must satisfy the requirements of Rule 203(a)(1) and (2)(i) (related to completion of undergraduate studies and legal studies at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association) and Rule 203(b)(2) (related to character and fitness);
(3) must not have taken and failed the Pennsylvania bar examination;
(4) must be currently admitted as an attorney at law in the highest court of another state, commonwealth, territory or the District of Columbia;
(5) must not currently be the subject of a pending disciplinary matter in any jurisdiction in which the applicant is admitted to the practice of law or be currently suspended or disbarred in any such jurisdiction;
(6) must not have been disciplined for professional misconduct by any jurisdiction within the 10 years immediately preceding filing of the Pennsylvania application or been disbarred at any time by any jurisdiction; and
(7)(A) must be employed and supervised by a Pennsylvania-licensed attorney who is in good standing and who is currently engaged in the practice of law in Pennsylvania; or
(B) be employed by the Federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or a local government within Pennsylvania and supervised in that employment by a Pennsylvania-licensed attorney who is currently engaged in the practice of law in Pennsylvania.
(1) An applicant who seeks admission pursuant to this rule must submit to the Board of Law Examiners an affidavit confirming that the applicant satisfies the requirements of Rule 304(a); that the applicant agrees to supplement his or her application with any information that might arise during the limited admission to practice that bears on any of the requirements of Rule 304(a); that the applicant agrees to notify the Prothonotary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of any information that might arise during the limited admission to practice that bears on any of the requirements of Rule 304(a); that the applicant has read, is familiar with and agrees to abide by the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct and the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement; that the applicant will comply with any obligations imposed by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board and that the applicant submits to the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with respect to any and all disciplinary matters.
(2) An applicant must submit to the Board of Law Examiners an affidavit of the Pennsylvania attorney who will, pursuant to Rule 304(a)(7), supervise the applicant if the application is granted. The supervising lawyer must confirm in the affidavit that he or she will (A) supervise the applicant in the performance of the applicant's legal work and (B) notify the Board in the event the applicant leaves the employ of the supervising attorney's law firm or is otherwise no longer being supervised by that attorney.
(3) The applicant must submit to the Board of Law Examiners the following:
(A) certificates or official transcripts evidencing compliance with the provisions of Rule 304(a)(2) related to legal education;
(B) a certificate of good standing from the highest court or the admissions authority of a state, commonwealth, territory or the District of Columbia in which the applicant is currently licensed to practice law;
(C) a copy of the United States military orders of the applicant's spouse establishing that the spouse is present in Pennsylvania because of military orders; and
(D) any fee required by the Board of Law Examiners.
(4) If an applicant satisfactorily completes the steps required by this rule and the Board determines that the applicant is qualified under this rule, the Board shall provide to the applicant a certificate recommending admission of a spouse of an active-duty service member.
(5) At any time within 6 months of the issuance of a certificate recommending admission of a spouse of an active-duty service member, an applicant may file a motion with the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, on a form prescribed by the Board for issuance of such a license. The applicant shall submit the form with the certificate recommending admission of a spouse of an active-duty service member along with any fee the Prothonotary may assess.
(6) Upon receipt of a properly supported motion, the Prothonotary shall enter the name of the applicant upon the docket of persons specially admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania subject to the restrictions of this rule.
(1) An applicant who is granted limited admission under this rule and who continues to satisfy the requirements of Rule 304(a) is entitled to all the same rights, privileges and benefits and is subject to the same duties, obligations and responsibilities as active members of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania subject to the following limitations.
(2) The limited admission provided by this rule shall terminate automatically upon the occurrence of any of the following:
(A) any of the provisions of Rule 304(a) are no longer satisfied or
(B) the attorney admitted under this rule is admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania under any other rule.
(3) In the event Rule 304(c)(2)(A) or (B) applies as a result of the death of the spouse of the attorney admitted under this rule, the termination of the limited admission provided by this rule will be subject to a six-month grace period.
Official Note: For purposes of this rule, the ''United States Uniformed Services'' are defined to include the following: the United States Army; the United States Marine Corps; the United States Navy; the United States Air Force; the United States Coast Guard; the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps and any other entity designated as part of the United States Uniformed Services by the United States Department of Defense or the United States Department of Homeland Security. See 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4) and (5).
The phrase ''active duty'' shall have the meaning given it in 10 U.S.C. § 101(d)(1).
For purposes of Rule 304(a)(7), ''practice of law'' shall have the meaning set out in Rule 204.
The supervision required by Rule 304(a)(10) must be sufficient to insure that the supervising attorney has knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct, knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences may be avoided or mitigated and will assume responsibility for the supervised attorney's work should the supervised attorney's limited license terminate.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 18-1442. Filed for public inspection September 14, 2018, 9:00 a.m.]
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