Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Ohio Supreme Court Studies New Emeritus Attorney Rule

The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a proposal to add an emeritus attorney status as a way to encourage retired lawyers to offer free legal service to low-income Ohioans.

The proposed changes to Rule VI of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio come from recommendations made by the Supreme Court Task Force on Access to Justice, which was charged with identifying gaps in and obstacles to accessing the civil justice system in Ohio.

Under the emeritus attorney rule proposal, an attorney admitted to practice law in Ohio who is associated with a law school clinic, legal aid, approved legal services organization, public defender’s office, or other legal services organization may file for emeritus status if he or she meets the following requirements:

  • Has been engaged in the practice of law for a minimum of 25 years or a minimum of 15 years if 65 or older;
  • Is in good standing with the Court;
  • Has not resigned from the practice of law with discipline pending or in order to avoid disciplinary proceedings;
  • Has not been disciplined for professional misconduct within the past 10 years.

The emeritus status would allow the attorney, under supervision from an active-status attorney, to appear before a court, administrative board, or agency. Routine legal services wouldn’t require supervision. The emeritus attorney wouldn’t be allowed to receive compensation beyond reimbursement for expenses from the legal services organization.

While the emeritus attorney wouldn’t have to pay the biennial attorney registration fee, there would be a $75 emeritus fee and application, and he or she would have to stay current with continuing legal education requirements. The emeritus status would automatically expire if the attorney withdraws or obtains active attorney status or inactive attorney status. The Supreme Court could also revoke an emeritus attorney status without hearing or statement of cause.

The Court will consider public comments before taking action on the proposed changes. Written comments should be submitted by Jan. 7, 2016, to:

Susan Christoff, Attorney Services Director
Ohio Supreme Court
65 South Front Street, Fifth Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-3431

Please include your full name and mailing address in any comments submitted by email.

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