Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approves Emeritus Status Allowing Retired Attorneys to Perform Pro Bono Services
On May 9, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court entered an order adopting Rule 403 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement which provides that an attorney admitted in Pennsylvania who is registered as retired and who seeks to provide pro bono services can transfer to emeritus status and be authorized to provide pro bono legal services under the auspices of an eligible legal aid organization.
To obtain emeritus status, eligible attorneys must submit an Application for Emeritus Status to the Attorney Registration Office for review and approval, along with a registration fee of $35.00. After approval, an emeritus attorney is authorized solely to provide pro bono legal services under the auspices of an eligible legal aid organization and without charge or an expectation of fee by the attorney.
Under the rule, an “eligible legal aid organization” is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal services. Prior to the commencement of services, the emeritus attorney shall submit an Eligible Legal Aid Organization Form to the Secretary of the Board for approval. A separate form must be submitted by the emeritus attorney for each eligible legal aid organization for which the attorney expects to perform pro bono services.
An emeritus attorney who is registered to provide services under this rule may renew the status on an annual basis.
Rule 403 further provides that an emeritus attorney shall be subject to the annual CLE requirement. To address this issue the Supreme Court also issued an Order amending Rule 105 of the Pennsylvania Rule for Continuing Legal Education. The new Rule 105 states that lawyers with an Emeritus license shall complete an annual CLE requirement of eight (8) hours pursuant to the rules and regulations established by the CLE Board.
Both Orders relating to the new Emeritus Status provide that they shall be effective 30 days after they were entered on May 9, 2018.
- Pro Bono