Rule 49(c)(9) of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules exempts pro bono attorneys from the unauthorized practice of law in the District of Columbia. Attorneys cannot hold themselves out as authorized or competent to practice law in D.C. and must give notice of their bar status. Attorneys are subject to the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and the disciplinary enforcement procedures. Attorneys are required to file the Certificate of Practice Pro Bono Publico. Pro bono attorneys may practice under the following circumstances:
Attorneys employed by a legal services or referral program in any matter that is handled without a fee qualify. If the matter requires the attorney to appear in court, the attorney will file with the court and the Committee a certificate stating the attorney is providing representation in that particular case without compensation.
Attorneys must be:
Attorneys employed by the Public Defender Service or employed by or affiliated with a non-profit organization located in D.C. that provides legal services for indigent clients without fee or for a nominal process fee.