Rules 49(c)(1)(2) and (4)(5) of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules exempt certain government attorneys practicing in the District of Columbia from the unauthorized practice of law and the formal admission process of being admitted to the D.C. Bar. There is no registration requirement, but attorneys cannot hold themselves out as authorized or competent to practice law in D.C. The following categories of attorneys qualify:
United States Government Employees
United States government employees providing authorized legal services to the United States.
United States Government Practitioners
Attorneys providing legal services to members of the public solely before a special court, department, or agency of the United States, where:
- The legal services are confined to representation before the special court, department, or agency and other conduct reasonably ancillary to that representation.
- The conduct is authorized by statute or special court, department, or agency rule expressly permitting and regulating the practice.
- If the practitioner has an office in D.C., the practitioner expressly gives prominent notice in all business documents of his or her bar status and the practice is limited to what is authorized by Rule 49(c).
District of Columbia Employees
Attorneys employed by the District of Columbia, who provide legal services for D.C., during the first 360 days of employment qualify. Attorneys must be enrolled bar members in good standing of a state or territory. Attorneys cannot be disbarred or suspended for disciplinary reasons, cannot have resigned with charges pending in any jurisdiction or court, and must be authorized by his or her government agency to provide such services.
District of Columbia Practitioners
Attorneys providing legal services to members of the public solely before a department or agency of the District of Columbia, where:
- The representation is confined to appearances in proceedings before tribunals of the department or agency and other conduct reasonably ancillary to such proceedings.
- The representation is authorized by statute, or the department or agency has authorized it by rule and undertaken to regulate the representation.
- If the practitioner has an office in D.C., the practitioner expressly gives prominent notice in all business documents of the practitioner’s bar status and that his or her practice is limited to practices authorized by Rule 49(c).
- If the practitioner does not have an office in D.C., the practitioner expressly gives written notice to clients and other parties with respect to any proceeding before tribunals of that department or agency and any conduct reasonably ancillary to such proceedings of his or her bar status and that the practice is limited and consistent with Rule 49(c).
United States Officers or Employees – Pro Bono Services
Rule 49(c)(9) exempts United States attorneys providing D.C. Pro Bono Legal Services.