Rule XX of the Louisiana Supreme Court Rules allows limited admission for law students.
Law students must:
- Be duly enrolled in Louisiana in an ABA approved law school.
- Have completed legal studies amounting to at least four full-time semesters (or the equivalent).
- Have completed the required law school coursework in legal ethics.
- Be certified by the law school Dean as being of good moral character and competent legal ability, and as being adequately trained to perform as
a legal intern.
- Certify in writing that the law student has read and will abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct, will faithfully perform the duties of a law student practitioner, and will not place his or here interest or clinic interests ahead of the client. The written certification must be filed with the Clerk of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
- Take the oath.
Clients may be any individual or family unit whose annual income does not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines established by the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines do not apply when the client is court-appointed or court-referred and the appointing or referring court has reviewed the economic condition of the client and determined the client is indigent. (Please see the Rule XX comments for further clarification.)
Any indigent community organization that seeks to obtain representation pursuant to the rules must certify in writing regarding the inability to pay for legal services. At least 51% of the organization’s members must be eligible for legal assistance as described above. The organization must provide information to clinic staff that shows the organization lacks, and has no practical means of obtaining, funds to retain private counsel.
Practice is limited to law school sponsored and supervised programs. The programs individually select the cases for the law students.
Law students may appear in any court or before any administrative tribunal in Louisiana on behalf of the state, any political subdivision thereof, or any indigent person or indigent community organization (including those affiliated with national organizations).
The client must provide written consent to the appearance, and the supervising attorney must indicate written approval for the appearance. The written consents and approval are filed in the record of the case and brought to the attention of the judge or presiding officer. The procurement and filing of written consent is not required when the indigent client is court appointed and unable to provide written consent or approval.
Law students may participate in:
- Civil Cases. Any civil matter where the law student does not charge a client for his or her services. The supervising attorney may be awarded attorney’s fees and costs for the services rendered by the student attorney and supervising attorney in cases where attorney’s fees are provided by statute.
- Criminal Cases. Any criminal matter where an indigent defendant does not have the right to the assignment of counsel under any constitutional provision, statute, or rule of the Louisiana Supreme Court. The supervising attorney is not required to be personally present in court if the client consents to the absence.
Any criminal matter where the defendant has the right to the assignment of counsel, the supervising attorney must be personally present throughout the proceedings and must be fully responsible for the manner in which they are conducted.
Any criminal matter on behalf of the state with the written approval of the prosecuting attorney, or his or her authorized representative, and the supervising attorney’s approval.
Attorneys will be introduced to the court where the student is appearing by an attorney admitted to practice in that court. Law students cannot ask for nor receive any compensation or remuneration of any kind. The supervising attorney may be awarded fees and costs as provided in civil cases, and any funds generated must be deposited into a special litigation expense account maintained by the clinical program for that purpose.
Law students may also engage in other activities with the law school program under the general supervision of a member of the Louisiana Bar but outside the personal presence of that supervising attorney. Additional practice includes:
- Preparing pleadings and other documents to be filed in any matter where the student is eligible to appear. The supervising attorney must sign
- Preparing briefs, abstracts, and other documents to be filed in Louisiana appellate courts. The supervising attorney must sign the documents.
- Participate in oral arguments in any Louisiana appellate court. The supervising attorney must be present.
Documents and pleadings must contain the name of the eligible law student who has participated in drafting the document. If the student participated in only drafting a portion of the documents, that fact may be mentioned.
The law school clinic program and law student practitioners must adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct, including the rules prohibiting solicitation of cases or clients.
The supervising attorney must:
- Be a lawyer admitted to practice before the Louisiana Supreme Court as a supervising attorney for the student practice program and must be approved by the law school Dean where the law student is enrolled.
- Assume personal professional responsibility and liability for the student’s guidance in any work undertaken and for supervising the quality of the student’s work.
- Assist the student in his or her preparation to the extent the supervising attorney considers necessary.
- Counsel and assist the law student who practices law pursuant to the student practice rule and provide professional guidance in every phase of such practice with special attention to matters of professional responsibility and legal ethics.
The law school Dean certificate must be filed with the Clerk of the Louisiana Supreme Court. The certificate remains in effect for 12 months or until the announcement of the results of the first bar exam following the student’s graduation, whichever is earlier. For any student who passes the bar exam, the certification continues in effect until the date the student is admitted to the Louisiana Bar.
The law school Dean may withdraw the certificate at any time without cause. The Louisiana Supreme Court may withdraw the certificate at any time
without notice or hearing and without showing cause.