IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON

In the Matter of the Amendment to the
OREGON BAR RULE
FOR ADMISSION OF ATTORNEYS
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ORDER NO. 08-028

ORDER AMENDING OREGON
STATE BAR RULE 3.05, 6.05, 15.05,
AND 16.05 FOR ADMISSION OF
ATTORNEYS

At its public meeting on May 20, 2008, the court considered and approved amendments to Rules for Admission of Attorneys 3.05, 6.05, 15.05, and 16.05.  These rule changes were approved as amended by the Board of Governors seeking to incorporate similar language in each rule concerning qualifications for admission via examination, reciprocity and as house counsel.  The change to Rule 6.05 makes explicit the Board’s authority to conduct applicant interviews prior to initiating an evidentiary hearing on the issue of an applicant’s moral character and fitness to practice law.  Deleted text is lined through; new text is highlighted and underlined.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the attached revised Oregon State Bar Rules for Admission of Attorneys are approved and effective immediately.

Dated this 29th day of May, 2008.

Paul J. De Muniz
Chief Justice





QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICANTS

3.05 Qualifications of Applicants

Prior to taking the examination the applicant must show that the applicant will be at least 18 years of age at the time of admission to the practice of law and meet the requirements of either section (1), (2) or (3):

(1) The applicant is a graduate of a law school approved by the American Bar Association, earning a Juris Doctor D degree or Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree.

(2) The applicant is a graduate of a law school in the United States, earning a Juris Doctor D degree or Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree, and

(a) has been admitted to practice before the highest tribunal of another state, the District of Columbia, or federal territory, where the requirements for admission are substantially equivalent to those of this state; and

(b) has been actively, substantially and continuously engaged in the practice of law for at least three of the five years immediately preceding the taking of the examination.

(3) The applicant is admitted to practice before the highest tribunal of law in a foreign country where the common law of England exists as the basis of its jurisprudence. In such case, the applicant shall have the burden of proving:

(a) that the requirements for admission to practice are substantially equivalent to those of this state; and

(b) that the applicant is a graduate of a law school equivalent to a law school approved by the American Bar Association. The Board of Bar Examiners, after reviewing the recommendation of an equivalency panel composed of representatives of Oregon ABA-approved law schools, shall determine whether the law school is equivalent to an ABA-approved law school for the purposes of this rule. The academic dean of each participating law school shall designate a member of its faculty to sit on the equivalency panel. An evaluation fee may be set by the Board of Bar Examiners and charged to each applicant seeking an equivalency determination. The fee shall accompany the applicant’s request for admission.

CHARACTER AND FITNESS

6.05 Investigation of Applicant's Moral Character and Fitness to Practice Law

(1) The Board of Bar Examiners is authorized to conduct investigations and to convene evidentiary hearings for the purpose of determining whether applicants possess the good moral character and fitness to practice law prescribed by ORS 9.220(2) and these Rules.

(2) The Board may, prior to an evidentiary hearing described in 9.05, request an applicant to appear before members of the Board as part of the Board’s investigation.

(2) (3) The Board may, as necessary, issue subpoenas to secure information material to the Board's inquiry.

(3) (4) An applicant may be denied admission for refusing to provide the Board with information material to the Board's inquiry regarding the applicant's good moral character and fitness to practice law.

RECIPROCITY ADMISSION

15.05 Admission of Lawyers Licensed to Practice Law in Alaska, Idaho, Utah and Washington

(1) Lawyers who have taken and passed the Alaska, Idaho, Utah and/or Washington bar examinations, who are active members of one or more of those state bars as a result of the passage of those examinations, and who have lawfully engaged in the active practice of law for no less than three of the four years immediately preceding their application for admission under this rule may be admitted to the practice of law in Oregon without having to take and pass the Oregon bar examination, subject to the requirements of this rule.

(2) All Alaska, Idaho, Utah and Washington lawyers seeking admission to practice law in Oregon under this rule must:

(a) present satisfactory proof of their:

(i) possession of a law degree either  a (1) Juris Doctor (J.D.) or (2) Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree from an ABA approved law school;  a law school approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of  or satisfaction of the requirements of rule 3.05(3);

(ii) passage of the Alaska, Idaho, Utah and/or Washington bar examinations;

(iii) admission to the practice of law in Alaska, Idaho, Utah and/or Washington;

(iv) active membership in the Alaska Bar Association, Idaho State Bar, Utah State Bar and/or Washington State Bar Association; and

(v) lawful active practice of law for no less than three of the four years immediately preceding their application for admission under this rule;

(b) possess the good moral character and fitness required of all other applicants for admission to practice law in Oregon;

(c) complete such applications and submit such other information as may

be required by the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners and Oregon Supreme Court within six months of the date of filing the application; and

(d) pay such application fees and costs as may be established by the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners and the Oregon Supreme Court for applicants under this rule.

(3) The character and fitness of applicants under this rule shall be reviewed under the procedures set forth in Admission Rule 6.05, 6.10, 6.15, and 9.05 to 9.60.

(4) All applicants admitted to practice law pursuant to this rule shall complete and certify prior to admission under this rule that, after filing of the application, he or she has attended at least fifteen hours of continuing legal education on Oregon practice and procedure and ethics requirements as regulated and approved by the Board of Bar Examiners.

(5) All applicants admitted to practice law pursuant to this rule shall obtain and maintain malpractice coverage from the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund as required by the rules and regulations of the fund. If an applicant is not required to maintain malpractice coverage through the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund, the applicant shall obtain and maintain other malpractice coverage covering the applicant’s law practice in Oregon which coverage shall be substantially equivalent to the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund coverage plan.

(6) All applicants admitted to practice law pursuant to this rule shall be subject to and shall comply with the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct, the Oregon State Bar Rules of Procedure, and all other rules and regulations applicable to members of the Oregon State Bar.

(7) If, in the judgment of the Oregon Supreme Court, it is in the best interest of the State of Oregon to discontinue reciprocity with other states, such decision may be implemented immediately by order of the Court. Additional states may be added to this rule by order of the Court upon petition of the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar and the Board of Bar Examiners.

(8) “Active practice of law” means, for the purposes of this rule, law-related professional activities including:

(a) Representation of one or more clients in the practice of law;

(b) Service as a lawyer with a local, state, territorial or federal agency, including military service;

(c) Teaching at a law school approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association;

(d) Service as a judge in a federal, state, territorial or local court of record;

(e) Service as a judicial law clerk; or

(f) Service as corporate counsel.

For purposes of this rule, the active practice of law shall not include work that was performed in advance of bar admission in any jurisdiction and shall not include work that, as undertaken, constituted the unlawful or unauthorized practice of law in the jurisdiction in which it was performed or in the jurisdiction in which clients receiving the unlawful or unauthorized services were located. The active practice of law need not have been full-time to qualify for consideration as prior active practice, but part-time practice must be shown to have consisted of at least 1,000 hours of work per annum to qualify as the practice of law.

(9) Notwithstanding Rule 15.05 (2)(a)(v), an applicant who has failed the Oregon Bar examination must present satisfactory proof of the lawful active practice of law in other jurisdictions for no less than five of the six years immediately preceding his or her application for reciprocity admission to qualify for admission under this rule.

ADMISSION OF HOUSE COUNSEL

16.05 Admission of House Counsel

An attorney employed by a business entity authorized to do business in Oregon, who has been admitted to practice law in another state, federal territory or commonwealth, or the District of Columbia, may be admitted to practice law as house counsel in this state, subject to the provisions, conditions and limitations in this rule, by the following procedure:

(1) The attorney, if at least 18 years of age, may apply for admission to practice law as house counsel by:

(a) Filing an application as prescribed in Rule 4.15; and

(b) Presenting satisfactory proof of graduation from an ABA approved law school with  either  a (1) Juris Doctor (J.D.) or  (2) Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) degree; or satisfaction of the requirements of rule 3.05(3);

or its equivalent;

(c) Presenting satisfactory proof of passage of a bar examination in a jurisdiction in which the applicant is admitted to the practice of law; and

(d) Providing verification by affidavit signed by both the applicant and the business entity that the applicant is employed as house counsel and has disclosed to the business entity the limitations on the attorney to practice law as house counsel as provided by this rule.

(2) The applicant shall pay the application fees prescribed in Rule 4.10.

(3) The applicant shall be investigated as prescribed in Rule 6.05 to 6.15.

(4) The applicant shall take and pass the Professional Responsibility Examination prescribed in Rule 7.05.

(5) If a majority of the non-recused members of the Board of Bar Examiners considers the applicant to be qualified as to the requisite moral character and fitness to practice law, the Board shall recommend the applicant to the Supreme Court for admission to practice law as house counsel in Oregon.

(6) If the Supreme Court considers the applicant qualified for admission, it shall admit the applicant to practice law as house counsel in Oregon. The applicant's date of admission as a house counsel member of the Oregon State Bar shall be the date the applicant files the oath of office with the State Court Administrator as provided in Rule 8.10(2).

(7) In order to qualify for and retain admission to practice law as house counsel, an attorney admitted under this rule must satisfy the following conditions, requirements and limitations:

(a) The attorney shall be limited to practice exclusively for the business entity identified in the affidavit required by section (1)(b) of this rule, and except as provided in subsection 7(f) below regarding pro bono legal services, is not authorized by this rule to appear before a court or tribunal, or offer legal services to the public; Participating as an attorney in any arbitration or mediation that is court-mandated or is conducted in connection with a pending adjudication shall be considered an appearance before a court or tribunal under this rule.

 (b) All business cards, letterhead and directory listings, whether in print or electronic form, used in Oregon by the attorney shall clearly identify the attorney's employer and that the attorney is admitted to practice in Oregon only as house counsel or the equivalent;

(c) The attorney shall pay the Oregon State Bar all annual and other fees required of active members admitted to practice for two years or more;

(d) The attorney shall be subject to ORS Chapter 9, these rules, the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct, the Oregon State Bar's Rules of Procedure, the Oregon Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules and Regulations, and to all other laws and rules governing attorneys admitted to active practice of law in this state;

(e) The attorney shall promptly report to the Oregon State Bar: a change in employment; a change in membership status, good standing or authorization to practice law in a state, federal territory, commonwealth, or the District of Columbia where the attorney has been admitted to the practice of law; or the commencement of a formal disciplinary proceeding in any such jurisdiction.

(f) The attorney may provide pro bono legal services through a pro bono program certified by the Oregon State Bar under Oregon State Bar Bylaw 13.2, provided that the attorney has professional liability coverage for such services through the pro bono program or otherwise, which coverage shall be substantially equivalent to the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund coverage plan.

(8) The attorney shall report immediately to the Oregon State Bar, and the admission granted under this section shall be automatically suspended, when:

(a) Employment by the business entity is terminated; or

(b) The attorney fails to maintain active status or good standing as an attorney in at least one state other than Oregon, federal territory, commonwealth, or the District of Columbia; or

(c) The attorney is suspended or disbarred for discipline, or resigns while disciplinary complaints or charges are pending, in any jurisdiction.

(9) An attorney suspended pursuant to section (8)(a) of this rule shall be reinstated to practice law as house counsel when able to demonstrate to the Oregon State Bar that, within six months from the termination of the attorney's previous employment, the attorney is again employed as house counsel by a qualifying business entity, and upon verification of such employment as provided in section (1)(b) of this rule.

(10) An attorney suspended pursuant to section (8)(b) of this rule shall be reinstated to practice law as house counsel when able to demonstrate to the Oregon State Bar that, within six months from the attorney's failure to maintain active status or good standing in at least one other jurisdiction, the attorney has been reinstated to active status or good standing in such jurisdiction.

(11) Except as provided in sections (9) and (10) of this rule, an attorney whose admission as house counsel in Oregon has been suspended pursuant to section (8) of this rule, and who again seeks admission to practice in this state as house counsel, must file a new application with the Board of Bar Examiners under this rule.

(12) The admission granted under this section shall be terminated automatically when the attorney has been otherwise admitted to the practice of law in Oregon as an active member of the Oregon State Bar.

(13) For the purposes of this Rule 16.05, the term "business entity" means a corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity, excluding governmental bodies, (together with its parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates) that is not itself engaged in the practice of law or the rendering of legal services, for a fee or otherwise.

(14) For the purposes of this Rule 16.05, “tribunal” means all courts and all other adjudicatory bodies, including arbitrations and mediations described in Rule 16.05(7)(a), but does not include any body when engaged in the promulgation, amendment or repeal of administrative or other rules.


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