Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 41

RULE UPDATES

CHANGES TO RULE 49
EXPAND POOL OF
PRO BONO LAWYERS
By Rebecca K. Troth

O

n November 1, 2018, the D.C. Court of Appeals announced amendments
to the pro bono exception to Rule 49 (Unauthorized Practice of Law). The
changes to Rule 49(c)(9) responded to proposals from the D.C. Access to
Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and became effective
January 1, 2019. The amendments1 were enacted with the main goal of
expanding the pool of lawyers authorized to provide pro bono service to
people of limited means in the District of Columbia.
1. Prior Version of Rule 49(c)(9)
The earlier version of Rule 49(c)(9) allowed active and inactive D.C. Bar members
to provide pro bono services, but not retired D.C.-licensed lawyers. The rule also
prevented inactive or retired lawyers from other states from doing pro bono
work in the District. In addition, individuals who had provided pro bono services
through their law school clinics were prohibited from continuing to provide
such services while their D.C. Bar applications were pending.
The prior rule also permitted in-house and federal government lawyers licensed
in other states to do pro bono work in the District, but only for as long as they
remained employed. Individuals who were not covered by the in-house or
federal government exception but were active and licensed in another jurisdiction could serve in a pro bono capacity (volunteering with the Public Defender
Service for the District of Columbia or another D.C. legal services organization),
but only if they applied to the D.C. Bar within 90 days of starting legal work in
the District, and not for more than 360 days.
2. Current Version of Rule 49(c)(9)
The Pro Bono Legal Services provision clarifies and significantly expands the
categories of lawyers who can perform pro bono service in the District. All
lawyers performing pro bono service under this exception must be affiliated
with a D.C. legal services organization that serves individuals of limited means
and must be supervised by a D.C.-licensed lawyer in good standing. The
amended rule:

These changes . . . mean that more
lawyers may volunteer to serve
the thousands of people in our
community who must go to court
and deal with their legal problems
without a lawyer by their side.
* Requires all pro bono lawyers practicing under one of the exceptions of
Rule 49(c)(9) to submit a Form 9 to the Committee on Admissions if they
need to appear in court. The form is available on the Court of Appeals'
website at dccourts.gov/sites/default/files/matters-docs/dcca_form9.pdf.
The form needs to be submitted only once to the committee and
a copy attached to each praecipe of appearance filed. A new Form 9
needs to be filed only if the information provided changes.
We at the Pro Bono Center applaud these changes to the pro bono service
rules, which mean that more lawyers may volunteer to serve the thousands
of people in our community who must go to court and deal with their legal
problems without a lawyer by their side.4
Rebecca K. Troth is the executive director of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center.

* Allows D.C.-licensed retired lawyers (in addition to active and inactive lawyers)
to do pro bono work in the District. This new category of retired, pro bono-
only lawyers - designated "emeritus lawyers" - allows them to remain
members of the D.C. Bar without paying license fees. Rule 49(c)(9)(A).2

NOTES

* Allows enrolled inactive and retired lawyers from other states to do pro bono
work in the District, as well as any lawyer who "is authorized to practice law
and in good standing in another state or territory." Rule 49(c)(9)(A).3

2 The D.C. Bar bylaws have not yet been amended to reflect that retired lawyers may
engage in pro bono practice without paying a license fee. The Bar anticipates that it
will address this issue in the coming fiscal year.

* Allows new lawyers not barred in another jurisdiction to perform pro bono
service while their D.C. Bar application is pending, with the additional conditions that (1) they have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school, (2) the
dean of their law school has certified that they are of good character and
competent legal ability, and (3) they give notice to the public and on pleadings that they are not authorized to practice law in any jurisdiction but are
practicing under a D.C. Bar member's supervision pursuant to Rule 49(c)(9)(C).

1 The amendments to Rule 49(c)(9) were reprinted in the December 2018 issue of
Washington Lawyer on pages 36-37.

3 The only exception is for employees of the Public Defender Service for the District
of Columbia or of a "a non-profit organization located in the District of Columbia that
provides legal services to individuals with limited means at no charge or for a nominal
processing fee." Employees of these organizations must apply for D.C. Bar membership
within 90 days of commencing the practice of law in the District, but they may provide
pro bono services until their application is either granted or denied. Rule 49(c)(9)(B).
4 If you have questions about the amendments and how they apply to you, visit
dccourts.gov/court-of-appeals/committee-unauthorized-practice-of-law.

*

JUNE 2019

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 41


http://www.dccourts.gov/sites/default/files/matters-docs/dcca_form9.pdf http://www.dccourts.gov/court-of-appeals/committee-unauthorized-practice-of-law https://www.dcbar.org/

Washington Lawyer - June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Meet Susan M. Hoffman: 48th President of the D.c. Bar
Regulation Counsel: Ensuring the Highest Ethical Standards
Disciplinary Counsel: Acting on Misconduct Charges
Life After Disciplinary Action
Bar Business: Budget Report
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Rule Updates: Rule 49 on Pro Bono Attorneys
Disciplinary Summaries
Special Coverage: 2019 Judicial & Bar Conference
Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Meet Susan M. Hoffman: 48th President of the D.c. Bar
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Regulation Counsel: Ensuring the Highest Ethical Standards
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 18
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Disciplinary Counsel: Acting on Misconduct Charges
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Life After Disciplinary Action
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-4
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-5
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-6
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Bar Business: Budget Report
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Rule Updates: Rule 49 on Pro Bono Attorneys
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Special Coverage: 2019 Judicial & Bar Conference
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover3
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