(a) Definitions. As used in this Rule, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) Law School. “Law school” means a law school that meets the requirements of Rule 19-201 (a)(2).

(2) Clinical Program. “Clinical program” means a law school program for credit in which a student obtains experience in the operation of the legal system by engaging in the practice of law that (A) is under the direction of a faculty member of the school and (B) has been approved by the Section Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.

(3) Externship. “Externship” means a field placement for credit in a government or not-for-profit organization in which a law student obtains experience in the operation of the legal system by engaging in the practice of law, that

(A) is under the direction of a faculty member of a law school,

(B) is in compliance with the applicable American Bar Association standard for study outside the classroom,

(C) has been approved by the Section Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of Maryland State Bar Association, Inc., and

(D) is not part of a clinical program of a law school.

(4) Supervising Attorney. “Supervising attorney” means an attorney who is a member in good standing of the Bar of this State and whose service as a supervising attorney for the clinical program or externship is approved by the dean of the law school in which the law student is enrolled or by the dean's designee.

(b) Eligibility. A law student enrolled in a clinical program or externship is eligible to engage in the practice of law as provided in this Rule if the student:

(1) is enrolled in a law school;

(2) has read and is familiar with the Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct and the relevant Maryland Rules of Procedure; and

(3) has been certified in accordance with section (c) of this Rule.

(c) Certification.

(1) Contents and Filing. The dean of the law school shall file the certification of a student with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals. The certification shall state that the student is in good academic standing and has successfully completed legal studies in the law school amounting to the equivalent of at least one-third of the total credit hours required to complete the law school program. It also shall state its effective date and expiration date, which shall be no later than one year after the effective date.

(2) Withdrawal or Suspension. The dean may withdraw the certification at any time by mailing a notice to that effect to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals. The certification shall be suspended automatically upon the issuance of an unfavorable report of the Character Committee made in connection with the student's application for admission to the Bar. Upon any reversal of the unfavorable report, the certification shall be reinstated.

(d) Practice. In connection with a clinical program or externship, a law student for whom a certification is in effect may appear in any trial court or the Court of Special Appeals, or before any administrative agency, and may otherwise engage in the practice of law in Maryland, provided that the supervising attorney

(1) is satisfied that the student is competent to perform the duties assigned,

(2) assumes responsibility for the quality of the student's work,

(3) directs and assists the student to the extent necessary, in the supervising attorney's professional judgment, to ensure that the student's participation is effective on behalf of the client the student represents, and

(4) accompanies the student when the student appears in court or before an administrative agency. The law student shall neither ask for nor receive personal compensation of any kind for service rendered under this Rule, but may receive academic credit pursuant to the clinical program or externship.

When the Maryland Board of Law Examiners, DC Bar Committee on Admissions, or any character committee questions your character and fitness for bar admission, bar applicants should retain an attorney to assist in disclosing information relevant to character and fitness, to guide them through the bar admissions process, and to represent applicants in character committee hearings and in hearings before the Court of Appeals to determine whether they are fit to practice law. Character and fitness concerns may arise in connection with prior criminal convictions, academic dishonesty and honor code violations, addictions, drunk driving, neglected debts, and a failure to disclose material information on law school applications or on bar applications. If you have a history of misconduct, traffic citations, crimes, arrests and other facts to disclose in response to the character portion of the Maryland Bar Application or the DC Bar's NCBE application, you should strongly consider retaining bar admissions counsel if you want to avoid denial of a law license and get a license to practice law. This is even true for applicants for admission to law schools as these applications ask similar questions about character. A failure to disclose facts material to your admission could result in a denial of bar admission.

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