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Nancy Willis

(a) Definition. As used in this Rule, a “military spouse attorney” means an

(1) attorney admitted to practice in another state but not admitted in this State,

(2) is married to an active duty service member of the United States Armed Forces and

(3) resides in the State of Maryland due to the service member's military orders for a permanent change of station to Maryland or a state contiguous to Maryland.

Cross reference: For the definition of “State,” see Rule 19-101 (k).

(b) Eligibility. Subject to the conditions of this Rule, a military spouse attorney may practice in this State if the individual:

(1) is a graduate of a law school meeting the requirements of Rule 19-201 (a)(2);

(2) is a member in good standing of the Bar of another state;

(3) will practice under the direct supervision of a member of the Bar of this State;

(4) has not taken and failed the Maryland Bar examination or attorney examination;

(5) has not had an application for admission to the Maryland Bar or the Bar of any state denied on character or fitness grounds;

(6) certifies that the individual will comply with the requirements of Rule 19-605; and

(7) certifies that the individual has read and is familiar with the Maryland Rules of civil and criminal procedure, the Maryland Rules of Evidence, and the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as the Maryland laws and Rules relating to any particular area of law in which the individual intends to practice.

Cross reference: See Rule 19-305.1 (5.1) for the responsibilities of a supervising attorney.

(c) Proof of Eligibility. To obtain authorization to practice under this Rule, the military spouse attorney shall file with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals a written request accompanied by:

(1) evidence of graduation from a law school meeting the requirements of Rule 19-201 (a)(2);

(2) a list of states where the military spouse attorney is admitted to practice, together with a certificate of the highest court of each such state certifying that the attorney is a member in good standing of the Bar of that state;

(3) a copy of the servicemember's military orders reflecting a permanent change of station to a military installation in Maryland or a state contiguous to Maryland;

(4) a certificate from or on behalf of the Department of Defense or a unit thereof acceptable to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals attesting that the military spouse attorney is the spouse of the servicemember;

(5) a statement signed by the military spouse attorney certifying that the military spouse attorney:

(A) resides in Maryland;

(B) has not taken and failed the Maryland Bar examination or attorney examination;

(C) has not had an application for admission to the Maryland Bar or the Bar of any state denied on character or fitness grounds;

(D) will comply with the requirements of Rule 19-605; and

(E) has read and is familiar with the Maryland Rules of civil and criminal procedure, the Maryland Rules of Evidence, and the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as the Maryland law and Rules relating to any particular area of law in which the individual intends to practice; and

(6) a statement signed by the supervising attorney that includes a certification that (A) the military spouse attorney is or will be employed by or associated with the supervising attorney's law firm or the agency or organization that employs the supervising attorney, and (B) an agreement that within ten days after cessation of the military spouse attorney's employment or association, the supervising attorney will file the notice required by section (e) of this Rule and that the supervising attorney will be prepared, if necessary, to assume responsibility for open client matters that the individual no longer will be authorized to handle.

(d) Certificate of Authorization to Practice. Upon the filing of the proof of eligibility required by this Rule, the Clerk of the Court of Appeals shall issue a certificate under the seal of the Court certifying that the attorney is authorized to practice under this Rule for a period not to exceed two years, subject to the automatic termination provisions of section (e) of this Rule. The certificate shall state the effective date and the expiration date of the special authorization to practice.

(e) Automatic Termination.

(1) Cessation of Employment. Authorization to practice under this Rule is automatically terminated upon the earlier of (A) the expiration of two years from the issuance of the certificate of authorization, or (B) the expiration of ten days after the cessation of the military spouse attorney's employment by or association with the supervising attorney's law firm or the agency or organization that employs the supervising attorney unless, within the ten day period, the military spouse attorney files with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals a statement signed by another supervising attorney who is a member of the Bar of this State in compliance with subsection (c)(6) of this Rule. Within ten days after cessation of the military spouse attorney's employment or association, the supervising attorney shall file with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals notice of the termination of authorization. 

(2) Change in Status. A military spouse attorney's authorization to practice law under this Rule automatically terminates 30 days after (A) the servicemember spouse is no longer a member of the United States Armed Forces, (B) the servicemember and the military spouse attorney are divorced or their marriage is annulled, or (C) the servicemember receives a permanent transfer outside Maryland or a state contiguous to Maryland, except that a servicemember's assignment to an unaccompanied or remote assignment does not automatically terminate the military spouse attorney's authorization, provided that the military spouse attorney continues to reside in Maryland. The military spouse attorney promptly shall notify the Clerk of the Court of Appeals of any change in status that pursuant to this subsection terminates the military spouse attorney's authorization to practice in Maryland.

Committee note: A military spouse attorney who intends to practice law in Maryland for more than two years should apply for admission to the Maryland Bar. The bar examination process may be commenced and completed while the military spouse attorney is practicing under this Rule.

(f) Disciplinary Proceedings in Another Jurisdiction. Promptly upon the filing of a disciplinary proceeding in another jurisdiction, a military spouse attorney shall notify the supervising attorney of the disciplinary matter. A military spouse attorney who in another jurisdiction

(1) is disbarred, suspended, or otherwise disciplined,

(2) resigns from the bar while disciplinary or remedial action is threatened or pending in that jurisdiction, or

(3) is placed on inactive status based on incapacity shall inform Bar Counsel and the Clerk of the Court of Appeals promptly of the discipline, resignation, or inactive status.

(g) Revocation or Suspension. At any time, the Court, in its discretion, may revoke or suspend a military spouse attorney's authorization to practice under this Rule by written notice to the attorney. By amendment or deletion of this Rule, the Court may modify, suspend, or revoke the special authorizations of all military spouse attorneys issued pursuant to this Rule.

(h) Special Authorization not Admission. Military spouse attorneys authorized to practice under this Rule are not, and shall not represent themselves to be, members of the Bar of this State.

(i) Rules of Professional Conduct; Required Payments. A military spouse attorney authorized to practice under this Rule is subject to the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct and is required to make payments to the Client Protection Fund of the Bar of Maryland and the Disciplinary Fund.

(j) Reports. Upon request by the Administrative Office of the Courts, a military spouse attorney authorized to practice under this Rule shall timely file an IOLTA Compliance Report in accordance with Rule 19-409 and a Pro Bono Legal Service Report in accordance with Rule 19-503.