Whether aspiring to be Atticus Finch or Gloria Allred, law students can get an early shot at the big time in First Circuit Court of Appeals.
The First Circuit has adopted amendments to Local Rule 46.0(f), broadening the scope of law student representation. Under the expanded rule, a law student may represent the federal government or a federal agency, and a law graduate may represent clients under certain circumstances while waiting to sit for the bar for the first time or waiting for bar examination results.
Of course, there are limitations to the not-quite-lawyer's new-found freedoms.
As every lawyer remembers from the National Professional Responsibility Exam, the client's written consent is key; a law student, whether representing an indigent client or the government, must secure the client's written consent to appear in court on the client's behalf. The law student must also work under a licensed lawyer's supervision.
In order to appear before the First Circuit, a law student must:
- Be enrolled in an ABA approved law school or be a recent law school graduate awaiting the bar exam or bar exam results.
- Have completed at least four semesters or other equivalent units of legal studies.
- Be currently enrolled in or have previously completed an appellate advocacy course or a law clinic course for academic credit.
- Be certified by the dean of the student's law school as qualified to provide legal representation.
- Refrain from requesting or receiving compensation from the client, (though the student may receive payment from an attorney, legal aid bureau, law school, public defender agency, a state, or the United States).
- Certify in writing that the student has read and is familiar with the ABA Code of Professional Responsibility and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Law students take note: Elle Woods-wannabes must complete two years of legal studies to wax poetic before the First Circuit about how water deactivates ammonium thioglycolate in a new perm.
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