*Federal agency attorneys may be admitted pursuant to the Delaware House Counsel Rules.
Rule 55 of the Delaware Supreme Court Rules, and Section VIII of the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners Rules, allow attorneys admitted to other jurisdictions, and law student graduates from ABA approved law schools at the time the degree was conferred,to obtain limited permission to practice law in Delaware for certain public programs. The limited permission is not admission to the Delaware Bar, but attorneys may practice as if members of the Bar.
Attorneys must be employed or associated with the Delaware Department of Justice, the Office of the City Solicitor of the City of Wilmington, the Office of the Public Defender, the Delaware Office of the Child Advocate, the New Castle County Office of Law, or with a legal assistance program approved and recognized by the Board. Recently adopted Rule 55.3 allows limited permission to practice for certain Assistant United States Attorneys.
Attorneys employed by or associated with the office of the City Solicitor or the City of Wilmington can only practice in misdemeanor cases in the Court of Common Pleas or before a Justice of the Peace, and only under the general supervision of a supervising attorney.
Attorneys employed by or associated with the office of the Delaware Department of Justice can practice in the Superior Court (except for trials in felony cases), in misdemeanor and civil proceedings before the Family Court, and in all proceedings before the Court of Common Please, a Justice of the Peace, and an administrative body of Delaware, only under the general supervision of the supervising attorney.
Conditions and Restrictions
- Attorneys must be introduced to the Supreme Court by a member of the Bar and must take the oath or affirmation.
- Attorneys cannot represent themselves to be members of the Delaware Bar.
- Attorneys are required to sit for the Delaware Bar Exam at the earliest opportunity following the attorney’s authorization to practice and must continue to sit for the Delaware bar exam until the individual has satisfied the requirements for admission and has been admitted to the Delaware Bar. Attorneys cannot fail the bar exam two times and continue to practice under this authorization.
- Attorneys cannot accept or request any compensation or remuneration from any client.
Applications before the Delaware courts and administrative tribunals are made in open court at any session of the court or in the chambers of any Justice of the Court. Applicants are also required to take the oath.
According to Section VIII, Rule 43of the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners Rules, applications include:
- The form Application in the rules.
- Application for admission to the Bar.
- Good Standing Certificates.
- Delaware Bar member of at least 10 years certifying the applicant is of good character and reputation and competent legal ability.
- Affidavit of representation of the office or program where the attorney is employed or where the attorney is associated attesting that the attorney is currently employed by or associated with such office or program.
The organization is required to file a report with the Board setting forth those persons who are employed by or associated with the organization and are permitted to practice with the organization.
Failure to file the certificate within the time provided results in automatic suspension of permission to practice until further permission is applied for and granted by the Board.
Certification to practice ceases when the attorney is no longer employed or associated with the qualified office or program. A representative of the office or program must file notice of cessation of employment within five days.
The Delaware Supreme Court may terminate certification at any time without notice or hearing or showing of cause.
Law School Graduates
Law School Graduate Additional Practice
In addition to the practice described above, law school graduates may engage in additional activities under the general supervision of the supervising attorney. This includes the preparation of pleadings and other documents to be filed in any matter in which the person is eligible to appear. The supervising attorney must sign the documents.
According to Section VIII, Rule 45 of the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners Rules, applications for law school graduates must include:
- The Rule 45 form Application.
- Application for admission to the Bar (except in the case of an attorney associated with an approved legal assistance program practicing without compensation).
- Law School Dean Certificate certifying the applicant is of good character and reputation, of competent legal ability and that the person is adequately trained to perform as a legal intern.
- A certificate of Preceptor, certifying that the applicant is of good character and reputation, of competent legal ability and that the person is adequately trained to perform as a legal intern and that the person has completed the checklist provided for by Supreme Court Rule 52c (related to satisfying the requirements for admission to the Bar and be admitted by December 31 following the year when the applicant passes the Delaware bar exam).
- An Employer Affidavit of the representative of the office or program where the attorney is employed attesting that the attorney is employed by or associated with the office.
Law school graduates must obtain written approval from their supervising attorneys for their appearances. The written approval must be filed in the record and brought to the attention of the judge or administrative tribunal. The following additional requirements apply:
- Civil Matter. The supervising attorney is not required to be personally present in court.
- Criminal Matter. In criminal matters where the defendant does not have the right to the assignment of counsel under any constitutional provision, statute, or court rule, the supervising attorney is not required to be present in court.
If the defendant has the right to counsel, the supervising attorney must be personally present in court.
Supervising attorneys must:
- Be members in good standing of the Delaware Bar.
- Assume personal and professional responsibility for guidance of the eligible person in any work undertaken and for supervising the quality of the eligible person’s work.
Assist the eligible person’s preparation to the extent the supervising attorney considers necessary.