Supreme Court carves out pro bono publico exceptions in rules amendments

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The Indiana Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys now include language addressing pro bono publico licenses following amendments made by the Indiana Supreme Court that will take effect next year.

Introduced in an Oct. 17 order, Rule 6.2 deals with the licensing of pro bono publico attorneys. The rule includes language addressing general regulations, required proof, scope of practice, rights and obligations, and disciplinary provisions.

The new rule also addresses application and renewal fees, as well as admission to the bar.

Relatedly, the court also amended Rules 2(c) and(d), which address annual registration fees for inactive and retired attorneys, and Rule 6 Section 2, which relates to business counsel licenses. Those rules will now include language relating to Rule 6.2 Section 2(c).

Rule 6.2 Section 2(c) states that an applicant under the rule shall file with the Board of Law Examiners “if admitted pursuant to a Business Counsel License, pursuant to Rule 6 Section 2, an affidavit that any legal services not devoted to his/her business counsel license will be exclusively pro bono legal services.”

Under the amendment to Rule 2(c), lawyers who file with the clerk to retain inactive standing must pay half of the registration fee referred to in Rule 2(b) and show that he/she neither holds judicial office nor is engaged in the practice of law in Indiana, “except for practice permitted under Rule 6.2 Section 2(c).” Similar language was inserted in Rule 2(d).

Likewise, attorneys may be granted a business counsel license to practice law in Indiana without examination so long as granting the license is in the public interest and such person “complies with Section 1(a)(ii) and is or will be devoted solely to the business of such employer and who receives or will receive his or her entire compensation from such employer for applicant’s legal service, and remains in such employment, ‘except for practice permitted under Rule 6.2 Section 2(c).’”

The amendments will go into effect Jan. 1.

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