Admission to Practice Rules
Rule 7. Licensure of Inactive Attorneys
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E. The Board may issue a conditional license under the provisions of Rule 8.
Rule 8. Conditional Admission/License
A. The Board may, in light of an applicant's physical or mental disability, present or past use or abuse of drugs or alcohol, neglect of financial responsibilities, or other circumstances in which the Board determines the protection of the public requires it, recommend admission or licensure to the bar conditional upon the applicant's compliance with relevant conditions prescribed by the Board.
B. The Board may recommend specific conditions of admission or licensure, including, but not limited to, requiring alcohol or drug treatment, medical care, psychological or psychiatric care, professional office practice or management counseling, practice supervision, and/or professional audits or reports. The Board may recommend persons to supervise the applicant and may recommend that cooperation with such supervisors be a condition. All costs related to any condition are the responsibility of the applicant. The Board shall recommend a specific duration for the conditions.
C. If the applicant is granted conditional admission or licensure by the Court, the terms and conditions of the applicant's admission or licensure shall be administered and monitored by the Board. During the period of conditional admission or licensure, the Board shall be notified of any disciplinary proceedings and shall have access to all information relating to any disciplinary complaint filed against the applicant.
D. At the end of the specified period, the Board shall file a report with the Court and recommend entry of an order lifting the conditional admission or licensure and allowing the applicant to practice law without restrictions, continuing the conditions, or amending the conditions.
E. If the applicant violates any conditions of admission or licensure, the Board is authorized to institute proceedings for revocation of the conditional admission or license under Rule 10 or 11 and shall notify the applicant and the disciplinary authority of its intent. The applicant's notice shall be by certified mail directed to the applicant at the last known address of the applicant.
F. The fact an individual is conditionally admitted is a matter of public record. All other information relating to conditional admission or licensure of an applicant shall remain confidential unless otherwise ordered by the Court.
G. Nothing in these rules diminishes the authority of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court to address violations of the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct by an applicant. However, the Bar Board shall have the responsibility for administering, monitoring and recommending appropriate action for noncompliance with any conditions.
Rule 9. Review Procedures
A. Informal Interview
At any stage of the application proceedings, the State Bar Board may request the applicant to appear before the Board or a Board member designated by the Board to answer any questions the Board may have.
B. Formal Hearing
1. If the State Bar Board makes a recommendation for conditional admission or licensure, a negative recommendation for admission to the bar or a negative decision on licensure for any reason, it shall so notify the applicant by certified mail directed to the applicant at the mailing address appearing on the applicant's application. The notice must specify the grounds for the recommendation or decision by the State Bar Board.a. If a negative recommendation or decision is based on the grounds that the applicant has failed to pass a portion of the examination or the attorney's examination, the applicant must be furnished with a copy of the essay portion of the applicant's examination and a copy of a set of model essay examination analyses.
b. Upon written request, the applicant shall be given the opportunity to inspect that part of the examination prepared by or under the supervision of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and that part of the applicant's examination which has been scored by or under the supervision of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, including the grading key. Inspection and copying of the examination prepared and scored by or under the supervision of the National Conference of Bar Examiners will be as permitted by the guidelines and limitations prescribed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners or its designee.
2. Within 30 days after the mailing of the notification, the applicant may demand a formal hearing by written petition directed to the State Bar Board.
3. At least 20 days before the hearing, the State Bar Board shall notify the applicant of the time and place of the hearing and shall inform the applicant of the applicant's right to be represented by counsel and to present any witnesses as the applicant may choose.
4. The hearing must be on the record and, at the discretion of the State Bar Board, may be held before the State Bar Board or a hearing examiner appointed by the State Bar Board to conduct the hearing. The Board shall set forth its findings of fact and its conclusions. If a hearing examiner is appointed to conduct the hearing, the findings and conclusions of the hearing examiner, to the extent that the Board adopts them, become the findings and conclusions of the board.
5. The State Bar Board shall notify the applicant by certified mail of its findings of fact and its conclusions.
C. Supreme Court Consideration
1. An applicant who, after formal hearing, receives notice that the State Bar Board will recommend conditional admission or licensure, or has given a negative recommendation or decision on licensure, may request review of that recommendation or decision by the Supreme Court. The review may be requested by written petition directed to the Clerk. The petition must be filed within 30 days after the Board's mailing of the notice of the results of the formal hearing.
2. The Clerk, upon receipt of a petition, shall notify the State Bar Board to prepare and file with the Clerk of the Supreme Court the record and files, including the transcript of the hearing, its findings of fact, and its recommendation. The cost of the transcript of the hearing, if any, shall be the responsibility of the petitioner.
3. To the extent appropriate, all proceedings before the Supreme Court must conform to the North Dakota Rules of Appellate Procedure. The State Bar Board shall participate in the briefing and oral argument before the Supreme Court.
4. The applicant has a burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence.
Rule 10. Interim Revocation of Conditional Admission/License
A. Upon receiving sufficient evidence demonstrating that an applicant:
(1) has not complied with any condition and
(2) poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public,
The Board shall transmit the evidence to the Supreme Court together with a proposed order for interim revocation of the conditional admission or license.
B. At any stage, the Supreme Court may enter an interim order immediately revoking the conditional admission or license of an applicant pending final disposition of the proceedings predicated upon the noncompliance with conditions and conduct causing harm or may order such other action as deemed appropriate. Upon the request of the applicant who is subject to the Board's request for interim revocation, the Supreme Court may provide the applicant an opportunity to be heard before determining the Board's request. Upon request by the Board or the applicant after entry of an interim revocation order, the Supreme Court shall within ten days provide an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate that the order should not remain in force.
Rule 11. Revocation of Conditional Admission/License
A. Within 60 days after the mailing of the notification of intent to revoke the conditional admission or license, the Board shall set a hearing on the revocation and inform the applicant of the time and place of the hearing and the applicant's right to be represented by counsel and to present any witnesses as the applicant may choose.
B. The hearing on the revocation shall be limited to the issue of whether any condition of admission or licensure has been violated by the applicant.
C. The hearing must be on the record and, at the discretion of the Board, may be held before the Board or a hearing examiner appointed by the Board. The Board shall set forth in a report its findings of fact, conclusions and recommendation to the Supreme Court. If a hearing examiner is appointed to conduct the hearing, the findings and conclusions of the hearing examiner, to the extent that the Board adopts them, become the findings and conclusions of the Board.
D. The Board shall notify the applicant by certified mail of its findings of fact, conclusions and recommendation and shall also file the report with the Supreme Court.
E. Within 20 days of service of the report, objections to the report may be filed with the Supreme Court. Within 50 days after service of the report, briefs limited to the filed objections may be filed. Oral argument may be requested only if objections are filed, or may be set upon the court's own motion. Briefing and oral argument will be as provided in the North Dakota Rules of Appellate Procedure.
F. An applicant who has had a conditional admission or license revoked is not eligible to apply for admission or licensure for a period of five years from the Order of Revocation.
Rule 12. Public Records
A. All records maintained by the State Bar Board regarding applications for admission to practice law, all examination materials, and all proceedings by the State Bar Board shall be confidential except as provided by these rules. The following records shall be maintained as public records:
1. the name, address, marital status, and date and place of birth of each applicant;
2. name of high schools attended by applicant and date of graduation;
3. pre-legal colleges attended by each applicant;
4. law schools attended by each applicant;
5. whether applicant has ever been admitted to practice under rule for Limited Practice of Law by Law Students (Senior Practice Rule);
6. names and addresses of persons who have passed the examination and have met all the requirements for admission to practice; and
7. whether applicant has been admitted with conditions; and
8. statistical summaries as may be authorized by the Supreme Court.
B. Upon written request information may be exchanged with an authorized lawyer discipline agency and released to bar admission authorities in jurisdictions where an application for admission is pending.
C. Application information may be released to agencies authorized by the State Bar Board to investigate moral character.
D. If the State Bar Board makes a negative recommendation for admission to practice based upon lack of good moral character, the applicant is entitled to disclosure of records pertaining to the applicant's moral character.
E. Upon an applicant's request for Supreme Court review of a negative recommendation for admission or licensure, the records pertaining to an applicant shall be public records.
Rule 13. Withdrawal of Application
An application for admission is deemed withdrawn, unless good cause is shown, if not completed within 24 months of the date of the filing of the application.
Rule 14. Disqualification of Members
Upon the disqualification of a member of the State Bar Board from consideration of an application for admission or relicensure, the Supreme Court may, at the request of the Board, appoint a resident licensed member of the bar, including a former member of the Board, to serve temporarily in the disqualified member's place.
Rule 15. Immunity
Communications to the State Bar Board, its committees, secretary or staff relating to an applicant's admission to the bar or character and fitness to practice law, as well as testimony given in a formal proceeding, are absolutely privileged, and no civil proceeding predicated thereon may be instituted against any person providing information to the Board. Members of the Board, the Board's committees, secretary and staff are absolutely immune in any civil proceeding for all conduct in the course of their official duties.
Rule 16. Power of Court to Revoke or Suspend Admission
Nothing in these rules shall be considered as a limitation upon the power and authority of the Supreme Court to revoke or suspend, after due notice and hearing, the admission of an attorney to practice in this state for fraud or material misrepresentation in the procurement of admission or license to practice.