Missouri Student Practice Rule
Missouri Supreme Court Rule provides the general framework for both ethical obligations of legal interns and the scope of the activities that you may engage. The complete text of Rule 13 appears as Appendix b in the Washington University School of Law Clinical Education Program Policy and Procedure manual, click here to view manual, and see the link at http://www.mble.org/. Please read it carefully. However, the following provisions are of particular importance.
Rule 13 Eligibility
In order to make an appearance pursuant to this Rule 13, the law student shall:
- Be duly enrolled in a law school approved by the American Bar Association;
- Have completed legal studies amounting to one-half of the credits required for graduation (43 credit hours completed);
- Have filed a law student registration. (You can find the registration forms in the file folders next to the student mail folders in AB Hall.)
- Be certified by the dean of the law school at which the student is a degree candidate as being in good standing. . .
- Neither ask for nor receive any compensation or remuneration of any kind for services from the person on whose behalf the student renders services, but this shall not prevent a lawyer, legal aid bureau, law school, public defender agency, or the state from paying compensation to the eligible law student, nor shall it prevent any agency from making such charges for its services as it may otherwise properly require; and
- Certify in writing that the student has read and is familiar with the rules of professional conduct in Rule 4 and that the student will abide by them. Said certification is to be filed with the clerk of this Court together with the certification by the law school dean.
Rule 13.01 Activities
- An eligible law student may appear in any court or before any administrative tribunal in this state on behalf of any person
if the person on whose behalf who is: (1) Indigent, or (2) A client represented by a clinic chartered by an American Bar Association approved law school, appearing has indicated in writing consent thereto and the supervising lawyer has also indicated in writing approval thereof, in the following matters:
- Any matter in which the person has the right to the assignment of counsel under any constitutional provision, statute, or rule of this court. In such cases the supervising lawyer must be personally present throughout the proceedings and shall be fully responsible for the manner in which they are conducted.
- In each case the written consent and approval referred to above shall be filed in the record of the case and shall be brought to the attention of the judge of the court or the presiding officer of the administrative tribunal.
As noted above, if you are Rule 13 certified and you are appearing in court on behalf of a client, you will need to do the following:
- Make sure you have the consent for signed by your client and the supervising attorney before you make the appearance;
- File the signed consent form and bring it to the attention of the judge; and
- Make sure you are appearing in court only at times when an attorney is supervising you.
If you are not Rule 13 certified, you will be able to sit second chair on matters but you will not be able to speak in open court on the record.
Being in Court and Appearing in Court
Legal interns may be in court without the supervision of an attorney when he or she is in court as a spectator, completing an observation requirement, or doing work on behalf of clients that does not require the legal intern to make an "appearance" on the record (usually by speaking on the record) of the court proceedings.
All written work with a student’s name on it, including all correspondence, briefs, memorandum, or any other written material filed with the court, prepared for clients, or sent to opposing counsel, must be viewed and personally signed by a supervising attorney.
Interns may not negotiate on behalf of clients with prosecutors or judges without the prior written consent of both the client and supervising attorney and only under direct supervision of a supervising attorney. Unless there is express prior consent of both the client and supervising attorney, interns will restrict themselves to rendering input about the case to the supervising attorney and will not do so in the presence of prosecutors and judges unless the supervising attorney expressly plans with the intern for this or explicitly requests the intern’s input in the presence of the prosecutor and/or judge.
Client Interviews and Legal Advice
Interns will not render advice or opinions concerning cases with clients except in the presence of a supervising attorney and pursuant to the direct supervision of that attorney in felony preliminary hearings or plea discussions or in those misdemeanor cases where the legal intern has been designated to sit first chair and only after clearing the advice with the supervising attorney on the case. There will be times, however, that you will provide information to clients, particularly during interviews, that is not legal advice but more in the nature of explaining something about what you are doing or the legal process.
Except with other interns in the Criminal Justice Clinic, supervising attorneys, staff of the St. Louis County Public Defender office, and supervising faculty, interns must maintain strict client confidentiality. Discussing cases with any other individual in a way that reveals either then client’s name or any other identifying information about the client or case is strictly prohibited by the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct and the policies of the St. Louis County Public Defender Office and the Washington University School of Law Criminal Justice Clinic.
Other Ethical Issues
Under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 13, each intern is bound t follow the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct. When in doubt about any of your ethical obligations, please refer to the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct and check with your supervising attorney and faculty person.
Rule 5.2, Responsibilities of a Subordinate Lawyer, state:
- A lawyer is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person.
- A subordinate lawyer does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct if that lawyer acts in accordance with a supervising lawyer’s reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.
Non-Rule 13 Interns
Non-Rule 13 interns enrolled in the Criminal Justice Clinic shall be held to the same standards of professional responsibility as Rule 13 interns. In addition, non-Rule 13 interns are not permitted to make an appearance, that is talk on the record, in court on behalf of clients. Non-Rule 13 interns must make sure that the supervising attorneys working with them know of their non-Rule 13 status. Every effort will be made to provide non-Rule 13 interns with as many experiences as possible that involve client responsibilities but not first chair court appearances.
Final Words of Advice
Rule 13 holds legal interns to the same ethical standards as lawyers in the state of Missouri, but it does not grant legal interns the full range of privileges lawyers enjoy. A violation of any provision of Rule 13 or any of the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct will affect a legal intern’s admission to the practice of law in Missouri and in every other U.S. jurisdiction. In the very worst cases, a legal intern may be forbidden from sitting for the bar. Please adhere to the rules and office policies.