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Licensed Legal Intern Committee Proposes Rule Changes

By Terrell Monks

The Legal Intern Committee continues to respond to the charge given by Chief Justice Douglas Combs and the Access to Justice Commission. Most recently we met to consider rule changes that would broaden opportunities for out-of-state law students to serve as licensed legal interns. The committee has approved submission of the following proposed amendments toward this objective.

Rule 2.1 is amended to allow participation for students attending out-of-state law schools.

PROPOSED REVISION

Rule 2.1

(e) Be a regularly an enrolled student at a an accredited law school located in the State of Oklahoma.

“Enrollment” in a licensed legal internship program can represent a significant expense to the out of state student who desires to work as a licensed intern in Oklahoma. Further, OU does not require enrollment in an internship program for licensed legal interns. Therefore, an amendment to Rule 5.1 is proposed for programs not requiring enrollment and to allow out-of-state law student participation under the supervision of an Oklahoma law school, without the need to enroll in an Oklahoma law school.

PROPOSED REVISION

Rule 5.1

(d) Enrollment Certification Form

(1) The law student applicant shall provide proof that he or she have his or her school furnish to the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association a certification that the student is enrolled participating in an approved law school internship program prior to being sworn in as a Licensed Legal Intern. (See Interpretation 2017-2)

Interpretation 98-3 will be amended contingent upon approval of changes to Rules 2.1(e) and 5.1(d)(1). The interpretation corrects the misuse of the term reciprocity; deletes the reference to summer, which will allow out of state students to participate during any school term; and removes reference to enrollment, redefining this eligibility criterion as participation. The interpretation is referenced under Rule 2.1(d).

Interpretation 98-3

Under Rule 2.1, a law student regularly attending an accredited law school outside Oklahoma, in a state which does not meet the “reciprocity” standards for admission requirements of Rule 2.1(d), may obtain a Licensed Legal Intern limited license for the summer if the student meets all the requirements of Rule 2.1 (including having registered and been accepted as a law student with the Board of Bar Examiners of the Oklahoma Bar Association), is enrolled in one or more summer courses and is actively participating in an approved law school internship program at either OU, OCU, or TU, and meets the school’s requirements for participation in the Legal Internship Program. (Adopted December 18, 1998)

Interpretation 2017-2 has been written to define Oklahoma law schools’ responsibilities in maintaining records and administering the legal intern exam. This was written in conjunction with Rule 5.1(d) and will take effect if amendments to the rule are approved.

Interpretation 2017-2

For the purposes of Rule 5.1(d)(1) and Interpretation 98-3, an out-of-state applicant for a limited license is not required to formally enroll in an internship “course” that is placed on the law school transcript of a regularly enrolled in-state student. The supervising Oklahoma law school may instead certify to the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association that the out-of-state applicant is an active participant in its approved law school internship program. Further, the supervising Oklahoma law school that agrees to administer the Legal Internship Examination to an out-of-state applicant and monitor his or her compliance with the requirements for participation in its internship program under Rule 4.2 shall first require that the applicant’s law school furnish proof that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements set forth in Rule 2.1(a), (b), (c), and (e).

The committee moved to amend Rule 7.6, to remove ambiguity. The consensus of the committee was that licensed legal interns should not appear in contested or uncontested adoption proceedings without the supervising attorney present. By adding a comma and removing the word “and” the rule requires the supervising attorney be present during adoption proceedings. The word “only” was moved to improve readability.

PROPOSED REVISION

Rule 7.6

(c) In all other civil legal matters, including but not limited to contested probate, contested divorces, and adoption proceedings, and ex-parte matters, such as temporary orders in divorce cases, restraining orders, temporary injunctions, etc., the Licensed Legal Intern shall only appear only when accompanied by and under the supervision of an approved supervising attorney. (See Interpretations 91- 2, 96-2, 97-1 and 2010-1)

Interpretations accompanying Rule 7.6 were also examined. It was determined that requiring the supervising attorney to appear with the licensed legal intern in a change of name proceedings was without merit and was removed from Interpretation 96-2. The amended interpretation was adopted June 21, by the Legal Intern Committee.

Interpretation 96-2

Rule 7.6(c) requires that a Licensed Legal Intern be accompanied by his/her supervising attorney when appearing in guardianship and change of name proceedings, whether contested or uncontested.

On June 21, 2017, the Legal Intern Committee unanimously voted in favor of proposed amendments to Rules 2.1(e), 5.1(d)(1), and 7.6. July 21, the OBA Board of Governors approved the proposed changes for submission to the Oklahoma Supreme Court after publication for comment.

You may email comments or questions to Legal Intern Committee Chair Terrell Monks at LLIComments@okbar.org. The deadline for submitting comments is Sept. 20, 2017.