Rule 15-301.2 of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar allows limited licenses for attorneys that provide pro bono/emeritus legal services on behalf of a legal services provider. The rules distinguish between emeritus attorneys and non-admitted attorneys.
An “emeritus attorney” means any person who is a member in good standing of any state bar, who has been admitted to New Mexico or any other state, territory, or protectorate of the United States or the District of Columbia for at least 20 years, and who is an inactive member with the New Mexico Bar or an inactive or active member of any other state bar.
A “non-admitted attorney” means any person who is not a member of the New Mexico Bar but who is admitted to practice before the highest court of any other state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia and is in good standing in all states where admitted.
For emeritus attorneys, the limited license is valid for three years and limited to one renewal. Emeritus attorneys must supply a sworn statement that the applicant has not been subject to disciplinary action by the bar or courts of any jurisdiction in the five years preceding the applicant’s retirement from the practice of law.
For non-admitted attorneys, the limited license is valid for three years and is not renewable. Non-admitted attorneys must be active members of the bar of another state, territory, or protectorate of the United States or the District of Columbia for three years immediately preceding the submission of the application. Non-admitted attorneys must be in good standing to practice law in each jurisdiction where the attorney is licensed and supply a sworn statement that the applicant has not been the subject of disciplinary action by the bar or courts of any jurisdiction during the preceding five years (complaints are not considered disciplinary action).
Qualified Legal Services Provider
A “qualified legal services provider” means a non-profit legal services organization whose primary purpose is to provide legal services to low-income clients or a legal department within a non-profit organization that employs at least one lawyer full-time to provide legal services to low income clients.
The qualified legal services provider must be an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) and exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or corresponding provision of federal income tax laws. Qualified legal services providers must register with the New Mexico Attorney General Registry of Charitable Organizations in compliance with the New Mexico Charitable Solicitations Act and be recommended by the New Mexico Commission on Access to Justice.
Attorneys obtaining limited licenses are members of the New Mexico Bar and are subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules Governing Discipline. Attorneys may pay a reduced annual state bar membership fee of $100 ($50 for the state bar services fee and $50 for the disciplinary fee) and must comply with the minimum CLE requirements.
Attorneys are required to file an application for a limited license with the Clerk of the New Mexico Supreme Court. The application includes:
Limited licenses expire upon the occurrence of the following events: