Posted: May 14, 2015
Rules Governing the Utah State Bar
USB 14-0803. Inactive lawyers providing legal services for legal services organizations; purposes. Amend. The proposed changes to Rule 14-803 expand the scope of the rule to allow inactive Utah attorneys to provide pro bono legal services under the auspices of an approved sponsoring entity without the requirement of a supervising attorney. The rule has also been expanded to allow attorneys admitted in other jurisdictions, who are not admitted in Utah but living in Utah, to provide pro bono legal services under the rule.
I am commenting on the proposed new rule fro inactive lawyers practicing pro bono. My suggestion is that the rule should simply be that inactive lawyers can practice without sponsorship so long as there is no compensation given or expected. The requirement of a sponsor has a chilling effect on retirees who can give meaningful service giving legal advice or assistance to friends and family. Inactive attorneys have received a juris doctorate and passed the bar by definition. To the degree that they practice for free they are subject to the rules of professional conduct. that should be enough. I also suggest an exemption form the rules on electronic filing since the truly retired don’t maintain the tech training or the equipment to keep up. I hope the bar would consider giving the inactive credit for having the discretion to limit their practice to the basics, but it is truly a service to some to have a retired friend appear in justice court on a traffic violation or small claims to resolve the minor incidents of law for which the middle class cannot afford paid counsel.
I also note that line 80 refers to a “paragraph 7 of this rule” but the rule appears not to have a paragraph 7.