Rule 415 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules allows inactive and retired attorneys to provide pro bono services in South Carolina.
- Be associated with an approved legal services organization that receives, or is eligible to receive, funds from the Legal Services Corporation; is working on a case or project through the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program; or is working with a program funded in whole or in part by a grant from the South Carolina Bar Foundation, Inc.
- Perform all activities under the supervision of an attorney who is an active South Carolina Bar member employed by, or participating as, a volunteer for the qualifying organization and who assumes professional responsibility for the conduct of the matter, litigation, or administrative proceeding where the retired or inactive attorney is participating.
- Agree to abide by the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct and all other rules governing the practice of law in South Carolina and submit to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for disciplinary purposes.
- Have been admitted to practice law in South Carolina or any other state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia and are retired from the active practice of law or are on inactive status.
- Cannot have been retired or on inactive status for more than seven years.
- Be members in good standing in each jurisdiction where admitted to practice law.
- Cannot be disciplined for professional misconduct in any jurisdiction within the past 15 years and is not the subject of any disciplinary proceedings.
Retired and inactive attorneys may:
- Appear in any court or before any tribunal in South Carolina if the client consents, in writing, to that appearance and the supervising attorney has given written approval for the appearance. The written consent and approval must be filed with the court or tribunal and brought to the attention of the judge or presiding officer.
- Prepare pleadings and other documents to be filed in any court or before any tribunal in this State on behalf of the client. The supervising attorney must sign the documents.
- Otherwise engage in the practice of law as is necessary for the representation of the client.
Attorneys engaging in practice exceeding what is permitted may be subject to discipline, suspension or revocation of the limited license, or being held in contempt of court for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Application and Certification
Attorneys are required to file an application with the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court. The application includes:
- A certification by the organization that:
- The retired or inactive attorney is currently associated with the organization.
- An active South Carolina Bar member employed by, or acting as volunteer for the organization assumes the duties of the supervising attorney required by the pro bono rules.
- The retired or inactive attorney meets the eligibility requirements of the pro bono rules.
- A certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction where the retired or inactive attorney is or was admitted to practice law.
- A sworn statement by the retired or inactive attorney that the attorney:
- Has read and is familiar with the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct and all rules relating to the practice of law in South Carolina and will abide by the provisions of those rules.
- Will neither ask for nor receive compensation of any kind for the legal services rendered under the pro bono rules.
The limited certificate terminates upon:
- Notice by the organization that the retired or inactive attorney has ceased to be associated with the organization. The notice must be sent to the retired or inactive attorney and must be filed with the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court within five days after the association ceased. The notice does not need to state a reason for the cessation.
- A determination by the South Carolina Supreme Court, in its discretion, that the limited certificate should be revoked.
Upon revocation, the supervising attorney must immediately file notice of the revocation in the official file of each matter pending before any court or tribunal where the retired or inactive attorney was involved.