Rule 36 of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Rules allows law students to practice before New Hampshire courts on a limited basis. The rule provides separate provisions for law students and law school graduates.
Unless a court rule states otherwise, law students and graduates acting under a supervising attorney may appear in any court in New Hampshire. The representation must be on behalf of an indigent person, the State of New Hampshire, a New Hampshire agency, or a New Hampshire subdivision.
Law students must:
- Be enrolled full-time in an ABA approved law school. The student is deemed to continue to meet this requirement so long as, following graduation, he or she is preparing to take and does take the next bar exam in the state of his or her choice for which the student is eligible. If the student has taken the bar exam, the student is awaiting the bar exam results or admission to the bar after passing the bar exam.
- Have completed at least four semesters (or the equivalent); or have completed two semesters and are enrolled in a law school clinical course with a classroom component for training the students work. Law students must be of good moral character and fitness;
Law school graduates must:
- Have graduated from an ABA approved law school and be of good moral character and fitness.
The graduate is deemed to continue to meet this requirement so long as he or she is preparing to take, and does take, the next bar exam in New Hampshire for which he or she is eligible; or, having taken the bar exam, he or she is awaiting the bar exam results or admission to the bar after passing the bar exam.
Practicing members in good standing of the bar of another state for at least two years may on application to this court be exempt from the provisions of the student practice rules relating to appearances in superior court and at probable cause hearings in district and municipal courts, provided that they prepare to take and do take the next bar examination in New Hampshire for which they are eligible or, having taken that examination, they are awaiting publication of the results of, or admission to the bar after passing, that examination.
A student or graduate may appear in the New Hampshire Supreme Court only in cases heard under Rule 12-D and with prior approval of this court.
Law students and graduates cannot ask for nor receive any compensation or remuneration of any kind for his or her services from the client. An attorney, approved legal aid society, federally funded legal services program, law school, public defender program, the State of New Hampshire, a New Hampshire agency, or a subdivision of New Hampshire, from paying compensation to the eligible law student or graduate. Agencies may also charge for the services.
The supervising attorney must be a member of the New Hampshire Bar. The supervising attorney is required to file a written consent with the New Hampshire Supreme Court for any proposed student appearance. The written consent should be filed immediately upon consenting to supervise a law student or graduate. The written consent includes:
- The attorney consents to supervise the student or graduate.
- The attorney assumes personal professional responsibility for the law student or graduate’s work and purchases professional liability insurance coverage to include the law student or graduate.
- The attorney will assist the student or graduate to the extent necessary.
- The attorney will appear with the law student or graduate in New Hampshire courts when, in the supervising attorney’s judgment, the nature of the case requires the supervising attorney’s presence.
- The attorney will participate with the student or graduate in all settlement or plea negotiations and remain available at all times for consultation with opposing counsel without the participation of the student or graduate.
Supervising attorneys must re-file the written consent annually in October. Upon termination of the supervision, the attorney is required to immediately file a withdrawal of the written consent.
The supervising attorney also waives the right to the confidentiality of proceedings that result from complaints to the Committee on Professional Conduct. The waiver is for the limited purpose of permitting disclosure of such proceedings by the Committee to the New Hampshire Supreme Court in connection with the court’s review of a filing under the student practice rules.
The supervising attorney’s presence is required for the superior court is required in all contested civil cases and in all criminal cases, and in district and municipal courts at probable cause hearings. The supervising attorney’s presence is also required in all cases in the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
Application and Certification
Applicable Forms are located in the rules. Law students and graduates are required to:
- Certify in writing that he or she is familiar, and will comply with, the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Certify in writing that he or she is familiar with the rules of New Hampshire Supreme Court, the other New Hampshire courts, and any other rules relevant to the cases in which he or she is appearing. The law student or graduate certifies that he or she will agree to be bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct, and by the Guidelines for the Utilization by Lawyers of the Services of Legal Assistants Under the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct not inconsistent with the student practices rules;
- Certify in writing that he or she acknowledges that his or her appearance under the student practice rules may be suspended for cause upon order of any justice of any court of New Hampshire, subject to reinstatement shown to the New Hampshire Supreme Court;
- File a sworn affidavit certifying that except as otherwise stated he or she has never been a party to any criminal proceedings.
Either the law school Dean, or a designated faculty member, must certify that the law student is qualified to provide the legal representation permitted by the student practice rules.
If the law student or graduate has been a part to a criminal proceeding, he or she may not practice until the court sends notification that he or she has met the requirements of the student practice rules.
The certification may be withdrawn by mailing a notice of withdrawal to the Clerk of the New Hampshire Supreme Court at any time without notice or hearing and without any showing of cause. The loss of certification is not considered a reflection on the character or ability of the student. The Dean or designated faculty member may recertify the student.