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Rule 3.3 Military Spouse Certification

Effective Date: 10/1/2016

A. General Statement and Eligibility. Due to the unique mobility requirements of military families who support the defense of our nation, a lawyer who is a spouse of a member of the United States Uniformed Services ("service member"), stationed within North Dakota, may apply for certification to practice law under this rule.

B. An applicant under this rule shall file, with the State Board of Law Examiners, an application for a military spouse certification, which must include:

1. An affidavit stating:
a. that the lawyer has received a juris doctor or equivalent degree from a law school approved or provisionally approved for accreditation by the American Bar Association;
b. that the lawyer has been admitted to practice law and is licensed in another jurisdiction in the United States;
c. that the lawyer is currently a member in good standing of the bar of all courts and jurisdictions in which the lawyer is admitted to practice;
d. whether the lawyer is currently subject to an order of attorney discipline or the subject of a pending formal disciplinary or disability matter in any jurisdiction; and
e. that the lawyer has read and is familiar with the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct.
2. A copy of the certification of legal relationship between the lawyer and service member and a copy of the service member's military orders reflecting a permanent change of station to a military installation in North Dakota.
3. A lawyer who receives certification under this rule shall pay an annual fee required for a lawyer who has been licensed in this state for five years or more.

C. A lawyer who receives certification under this rule shall complete at least 45 hours of approved coursework in Continuing Legal Education during each three-year period the lawyer is certified and must file a report as provided in the North Dakota Rules for Continuing Legal Education.

D. Scope of Practice. Except as provided in this rule, a lawyer admitted under this rule is entitled to all rights and privileges and is subject to all duties, obligations, and responsibilities otherwise applicable to licensed North Dakota lawyers for the period of authorized practice under this rule. The attorney may not act as counsel for a client until certified under this rule.

E. Discipline and Disability Jurisdiction. A lawyer certified to practice law under this rule is, as provided in N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 8.5, subject to professional discipline in the same manner and to the same extent as members of the bar of this state.

F. Termination of Certification. Certification under this rule terminates when:

1. The service member is no longer a member of the United States Uniformed Services;
2. The military spouse lawyer is no longer a spouse of the service member;
3. The military spouse lawyer is no longer licensed and in good standing in another jurisdiction in the United States;
4. The service member receives a permanent transfer outside North Dakota, except that if the service member has been assigned to an unaccompanied or remote assignment with no dependents authorized, the military spouse lawyer may continue to practice law under this rule until the service member is assigned to a location with dependents authorized; or
5. The military spouse lawyer is suspended or disbarred or placed on disability inactive status in any jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted.

If any of the events identified in this section occur, the lawyer certified under this rule shall notify the State Board of Law Examiners of the event in writing within fourteen days of the date upon which the event occurs. Certification under this rule is terminated thirty days after notice is received.

G. Required Action After Termination of Certification. Upon the termination of certification under section F of this rule, the lawyer, within thirty days, shall:

1. Cease to occupy an office or other place for the regular practice of law in North Dakota, unless authorized to do so under another rule;
2. Notify in writing all clients in pending matters, and co-counsel and opposing counsel in pending litigation, of the termination of the lawyer's authority to practice law under this rule;
3. Decline any new representation that would require the lawyer to be admitted to practice law in North Dakota; and
4. Take all other necessary steps to protect the interests of the lawyer's clients.

H. Subsequent Attorney Admission. If an attorney certified under this rule is subsequently admitted to the practice of law in North Dakota, the lawyer's military spouse certification is superseded by the license to practice law.

[Adopted effective October 1, 2016]

Effective Date Obsolete Date
10/01/2016 View