Rule XV of the Arkansas Rules Governing Bar Admission allows eligible law students to practice before Arkansas courts.
Law students must:
- Have completed a course in professional responsibility or the equivalent of such a course.
- If the student appears before a court or administrative tribunal or in a criminal matter on behalf of the State or prosecuting authority, the law student must have completed legal studies amounting to at least 48 semester credit hours (or the equivalent). This includes courses in civil procedure, evidence, criminal procedure, and professional responsibility or the equivalent of such courses.
- Cannot ask for nor receive any compensation or remuneration of any kind directly from the person on whose behalf services are rendered. An attorney, law firm, legal aid bureau, public defender agency, or the state, county, or municipality may pay compensation to the student not otherwise prohibited by the student practice rules.
Law students may appear in any court or before any administrative tribunal in Arkansas on behalf of any person, who consents in writing, and with the written approval of the supervising attorney. The supervising attorney must be personally present throughout the proceedings and fully responsible for the manner in which the proceedings are conducted.
Law students may appear in any criminal matter on behalf of the State or prosecuting authority with the written approval of the prosecuting attorney or his or her authorized representative. The supervising attorney must be personally present throughout the proceedings and fully responsible for the manner in which they are conducted.
In cases where the student represents the State or prosecuting authority, the approval of the supervising attorney is filed in the record. In civil cases and cases where the student represents a defendant in a criminal case, the client’s written consent and the supervising attorney’s approval are filed in the record.
Taking depositions is considered a court appearance and the supervising attorney must be present if otherwise required by the type of representation.
Law students may also participate in law school clinical programs emphasizing transactional and drafting skills including client counseling (described below).
Law students may engage in other activities outside the personal presence of the attorney. This practice includes:
- Preparing pleadings and other documents. The supervising attorney must sign the documents.
- Preparing briefs, abstracts, and other documents to be filed in Arkansas appellate courts. The supervising attorney must sign the documents.
- Law School Clinic Program/Transactional and Drafting Skills. Preparing contracts, incorporation papers and by-laws, agreements, filings required by a state, federal or other governmental agency or body, proposed legislation, and other documents for a client’s consideration by a student certified and practicing under a law school clinic program. The supervising attorney must review the documents prior to presentation to the client and must be signed by the attorney if the attorney’s signature is necessary.
To prepare these documents, the student may provide legal advice if such advice has been approved or is supervised by the attorney. Approval or supervision is achieved through preparation of the student and videotaping client contacts or the attorney’s presence during the client contacts.
Law students may practice only under the supervision of:
- An attorney who signed the Supervising Attorney Certificate;
- An attorney who is admitted to practice in Arkansas and who is a member of the same law firm as the supervising attorney or an attorney who is a admitted to practice in Arkansas who is employed by the same law school or public office as the supervising attorney; or
- Law School Professors. An attorney employed full-time by an Arkansas Law School accredited by the ABA. The law school attorney may engage in supervision under the student practices rule for no more than one year without being admitted to practice in Arkansas provided the attorney:
- Is admitted to practice in another state.
- Has been admitted at least five years in another state.
- The law school must secure and maintain documents that confirm that the attorney meets the requirements of the student practices rule, and the Law School Dean Certificate contains an affirmation to that effect.
The supervising attorney must:
- Be an attorney licensed in Arkansas (unless otherwise provided) and who has been actively engaged in the practice of law in Arkansas or any other jurisdiction for a period of at least two years and is in good standing with the Arkansas Supreme Court.
- Assume personal professional responsibility for the student’s guidance in any work undertaken and for supervising the quality of the student’s work.
- Assist the student in preparation to the extent the attorney considers it necessary.
The supervising attorney may not charge the client for the primary practice of student practitioner’s services.
Requirements and Filings
The Law School Dean Certificate is required to be filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court and includes a certification that:
- The law student is of good moral character and competent legal ability and is adequately trained to perform as an eligible law student under
- An affirmation that the Dean of the certifying institution will promptly notify the Clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court in the event the
student’s eligibility ceases.
- Incorporated within the Dean certification, the law student must certify in writing that the student has read and will comply with the student
practices rule and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The Law School Dean Certificate remains in effect until the expiration of the 18 months after it is filed, the student graduates, or the student withdraws form law school.
The student attorney must also file the Supervising Attorney Certificate with the clerk of Arkansas Supreme Court. The supervising attorney certificate must:
- Be signed by an attorney admitted to practice in Arkansas who agrees to act as a supervising attorney with respect to the practice by a law student.
- Certify the attorney has read and will comply with the student practices rule and with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The Supervising Attorney Certificate remains in effect until six months after it is filed, the law student graduates, or the student officially withdraws from law school. The certificate can be renewed by filing a new certificate.
Law Student Certification Termination
The Law School Dean Certificate and the Supervising Attorney Certificate may be withdrawn at anytime by filing a notice with the Clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The authority to practice under the student practices rule may be terminated at any time without notice or hearing and without showing of cause. Notice of termination is filed with the Clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
After a law student appears in a court or administrative tribunal on one or more occasions, a judge may terminate, for good cause, the law student’s authority to subsequently appear.