Most attorneys and law students are aware of Admission to Practice Rule (APR) 9 (colloquially referred to as Rule 9), authorizing law students with a minimum amount of their J.D. completed to practice law under the supervision of a qualified attorney. Starting Jan. 1, APR 9 will undergo numerous changes that will significantly affect both supervising attorneys and their licensed legal interns.
The WSBA strongly advises supervising attorneys, current licensed legal interns, and current law students to review the new APR 9 closely. These changes will have several significant impacts on both supervisors and interns. Here are some of the highlights:
- APR 9(b)(3): In light of changes to APR 3 permitting graduates of non-ABA approved law schools (U.S.-based or foreign) to sit for the bar exam after completion of an LL.M. degree at an ABA approved law school, APR 9 authorizes LL.M. graduates not admitted to the practice of law elsewhere to apply for an APR 9 limited license.
- APR 9(f)(1): Supervising lawyers must provide training to their interns regarding the Rules of Professional Conduct and how they relate to the limited practice of the intern. APR 9 does not specifically define how this training should be conducted or how long it must be.
- APR 9(f)(6)(b): Supervising lawyers employed by a recognized institution of legal aid, public defense, or similar programs furnishing legal assistance to indigents, or by the legal departments of a state, county, or municipality, may now supervise up to four interns. Previously, these types of supervising lawyers could only supervise two interns. (The other part of this rule still limits attorneys in private practice to only one intern.)
- APR 9(f)(7): Supervising lawyers must meet with any licensed legal intern he/she is supervising, in person or by telephone, a minimum of once per week, to review cases being handled and to provide feedback on performance, to provide additional guidance and instruction, and to answer questions or issues raised by the intern.
- APR 9(h): The term of the APR 9 limited license has been lengthened to 30 consecutive months or 18 months after the graduation of the Licensed Legal Intern from law school or completion of the APR 6 Law Clerk Program, whichever occurs sooner. Please note that interns licensed prior to Jan. 1, 2014, will still be limited to 24 consecutive months or 12 months from graduation, whichever is sooner.
These are just a few of the changes. Take the time to read the new APR 9 carefully, and contact the WSBA if you have questions or concerns. Please also review the Rule 9 webpage for information on how the application process works.