Illinois Legal Services Organizations

Rule 717 of the Rules on Admission and Discipline of Attorneys allows attorneys admitted in another jurisdiction to receive a limited license to practice law in Illinois when the attorney is employed in Illinois by an organized legal service, public defender, or law school clinical program providing assistance to indigent persons.

Attorneys practicing with a license under the legal service organization rules cannot use that practice to qualify for Illinois Admission on Motion.

Attorneys must meet the educational requirements of Rule 703 (graduate from an ABA approved law school).

Attorneys may perform legal services in Illinois solely on behalf of a qualified employer and the indigent clients represented by the employer. In criminal cases classified as felonies, attorneys may participate in the proceedings as an assistant of a supervising member of the Illinois Bar. The supervising attorney must be present and responsible for the conduct of the proceedings.

Attorneys are subject to the jurisdiction of the Illinois Supreme Court for disciplinary purposes to the same extent as all other Illinois lawyers.

Attorneys are required to file with the Board of Admissions the following:

  • Application and character and fitness registration application.
  • Certificates of good standing from each jurisdiction where admitted.
  • Certificates from the disciplinary authority of each jurisdiction that:
    • States the applicant has not been suspended, disbarred, or disciplined and that no charges of professional misconduct are pending; or
    • Identifies any suspensions, disbarments, or disciplinary sanctions and any pending charges.
  • Employer Affidavit. An employer certificate that states:
    • It is engaged in the practice of law for the rendering of legal services to indigent persons.
    • It is duly qualified to do business under the laws of its organization and the laws of Illinois.
    • The attorney will work exclusively as an employee of the employer, stating when the date of employment is expected to commence.
    • It will promptly notify the Clerk of the Illinois Supreme Court of the attorney’s employment.

Attorneys must annually register with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and pay the fee for active attorneys and fully comply with the MCLE requirements.

The license and authorization terminates upon the earliest of the following:

  • A period of 18 months after admission to practice.
  • The attorney is admitted to the general practice of law under any other rule.
  • The attorney ceases to be employed for the employer listed on the initial application for admission.
  • The employer withdraws its certificate.