(a) Notice of Withdrawal. An attorney's appearance for a party may only be withdrawn upon leave of court. Reasonable notice of the motion for leave to withdraw must be given by personal service, by registered or certified mail, or via a third-party commercial carrier providing a traceable delivery, directed to the party at the party's last known business or residence address. If the notice is undeliverable, the attorney must submit an affidavit to the court reciting the efforts made to give notice.
(b) Motion to Withdraw. The motion for leave to withdraw must be in writing and, unless another attorney is substituted, must state the last known address, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of the party represented.
(c) Withdrawal on Appeal. If a notice of appeal is filed in a matter, any attorney seeking leave to withdraw must file the motion with the supreme court clerk.
(d) Limited Appearance. Rule 11.2 (a), (b), and (c) do not apply to attorneys representing a party under a notice of limited appearance served under N.D.R.Civ.P. 11(e) unless the attorney seeks to withdraw from the limited appearance prior to its completion. Upon completion of the limited appearance, the attorney must within 14 days file a "Certificate of Completion of Limited Appearance" with the court. Copies of the certificate must be provided to the client and served upon opposing counsel or opposing party if unrepresented. After the filing, the attorney has no further obligation to represent the client. The filing of the certificate is considered to be the attorney's withdrawal of appearance and does not require court approval.
(e) Unfiled Cases. This rule does not apply to attorneys representing parties in civil actions that have not been filed with the court.
The March 1, 1999, amendments allow notice via a commercial carrier providing a traceable delivery service.
The March 1, 2000, amendments are stylistic.
Subdivision (a) was amended, effective March 1, 2015, to require the attorney, when notice of withdrawal cannot be delivered, to submit an affidavit regarding the efforts made to provide notice.
Subdivision (b) was amended, effective March 1, 2015, to require the attorney to provide the court with any known party e-mail addresses or telephone numbers.
Subdivision (c) was added, effective March 1, 2006, to make it clear that an attorney seeking to withdraw from representation in a matter that is on appeal must file a motion for leave to withdraw with the supreme court clerk. The supreme court clerk will refer withdrawal motions involving court appointed attorneys to the trial court for decision and appointment of new counsel.
Subdivision (d) was added, effective March 1, 2009, to make it clear that an attorney who serves a notice of limited representation to represent a party for one or more matters in a case is not required to formally withdraw upon completion of activity covered by the notice. Under N.D.R.Civ.P. 11(e), however, the attorney must serve a notice of termination of limited representation when the attorney's involvement ends. Rule 11.2 and N.D.R.Civ.P. 5 and 11 were amended to permit attorneys to assist otherwise unrepresented parties on a limited basis without undertaking full representation of the party.
Subdivision (d) was amended, effective August 1, 2016, to clarify the attorney's responsibilities upon completing a limited appearance and to clarify that court approval is not required when the attorney completes the limited appearance and withdraws.
Subdivision (e) was added, effective March 1, 2017, to clarify that an attorney is not required to seek leave to withdraw under this rule if the action has not been filed. Subdivision (e) does not modify an attorney's obligations under N.D. Rule of Prof. Conduct 1.16.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 28-29, 2016, page 24; September 24-25, 2015, pages 11-12; April 23-24, 2015, pages 16-25; January 29-30, 2015, page 22; September 25-26, 2014, pages 3-4; April 24-25, 2014, pages 26-27; January 24, 2008, pages 2-7; October 11-12, 2007, pages 20-26; September 23-24, 2004, page 29; May 6-7, 1999, pages 15-16; January 29-30, 1998, page 22.
Cross Reference: N.D.R.Civ.P. 5 (Service and Filing of Pleadings and Other Papers), N.D.R.Civ.P. 11 (Signing of Pleadings, Motions and Other Papers; Representation to Court; Sanctions); N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.2 (Scope of Representation); N.D. Rule of Prof. Conduct 1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation).