By Jennifer M. Schindele
Last October, Magistrate Judge Mick Hodges, with support from the Idaho Pro Bono Commission and Idaho Supreme Court, joined attorneys and judges around the state to encourage participation in pro bono work. The Practice with Purpose tour stopped in each judicial district gathering attorneys together to discuss pro bono opportunities and the Emeritus limited license.
From Coeur d’Alene to Idaho Falls, Judge Hodges and several others described their dedication to pro bono work. The presentation highlighted Idaho Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 and provided information to attorneys about a limited license in Idaho called Emeritus. Currently, there are 13 attorneys in Idaho with an Emeritus limited license. For those attorneys who are nearing retirement but want to continue to practice with purpose, this opportunity is for you!
What is an Emeritus Limited License?
In Idaho, an attorney who is or had been actively licensed to practice law in any state within the past five years can apply for an Emeritus Attorney Limited License.[i] The limited license allows attorneys to practice law for an approved legal service organization as long as they do not ask for or receive compensation for their legal services.[ii] To date, the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program (“IVLP”) and Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc. have both been approved by the Idaho Supreme Court as a Legal Assistance Organization.
How do I apply?
To apply for Emeritus status, an attorney must submit to the Idaho State Bar (“ISB”) Admissions Department a sworn statement verifying that the attorney is or had been actively licensed to practice law within the five years preceding the application, the attorney will perform legal services without asking for or receiving compensation, the attorney will abide by the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct and all other laws and rules governing lawyers admitted to the ISB, and finally, that the attorney submits to the jurisdiction of the Idaho Supreme Court and the ISB for disciplinary purposes.[iii] In addition to the sworn statement, the attorney must have the Approved Legal Assistance Organization provide written confirmation directly to the ISB Admissions Department that the attorney is associated with the approved organization.[iv]
If the attorney is or had been actively licensed in Idaho, the ISB will verify the information internally. If, however, the attorney is or had been actively licensed in another state, the attorney must also submit to the Admissions Department a Certificate of Good Standing from the state in which the attorney was licensed indicating that the attorney meets the requirements of the Idaho Bar Commission Rules.[v]
What are the licensing requirements for an Emeritus attorney?
Once an attorney has received the Emeritus limited license, the licensing requirements are minimal. The attorney must complete at least three continuing legal education credit hours each year. If the attorney is associated with the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program, the CLEs are offered free of charge. Additionally, the attorney must pay an annual license fee which is currently $150.[vi]
What type of legal services can I provide with an Emeritus limited license?
An Emeritus attorney may appear in any court or before an administrative tribunal, mediator, or arbitrator in Idaho as long the attorney is performing pro bono work on behalf of an Approved Legal Assistance Organization.[vii] Additionally, an attorney can prepare pleadings and other documents to be filed in any court in any matter in which the Emeritus Attorney is involved.[viii] Finally, the attorney can render legal advice and perform other appropriate legal services on behalf of a client of an approved organization.[ix]
Do I need to have malpractice insurance?
Yes. However, if an attorney is performing pro bono legal service under the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program, malpractice insurance is provided. The Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program carries malpractice insurance for all attorneys when practicing law on behalf of an IVLP client.
For more information about how to apply for an Emeritus limited license or about how to get involved with pro bono work, contact Jennifer Schindele, Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer M. Schindele is the Director of the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program. Jennifer earned an English degree at the University of Idaho and completed law school at the University of Idaho College of Law. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, playing soccer, and exploring Idaho’s outdoors.
[i] Idaho Bar Commission Rule 228(b).
[ii] I.B.C.R. 228(c) and 228(e).
[v] I.B.C.R. 228(f)(3).
[vi] I.B.C.R. 304.
[vii] I.B.C.R. 228(d)(1)(A).
[viii] I.B.C.R. 228(d)(1)(B).
[ix] I.B.C.R. 228(d)(1)(C).