November 24, 2014

Supreme Court Amends Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Regarding Judge Advocates and Attorney Discipline, and Adds New Rules Regarding Law after Disasters, Legal Aid Clinic Externs, and a Lawyer Assistance Program

The Colorado Supreme Court has made several amendments and additions to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court has amended the rules regarding temporary admission to the state bar for judge advocates in the military as well as the grounds for discipline for attorney misconduct. Also, the Court has approved the addition of three new rules regarding the provision of legal services following a major disaster, legal aid clinics and externs, and establishing a Lawyer Assistance Program.

CRCP 201.3(3), Rules Governing Admission to the Bar – Classification of Applicants, was amended to read as follows (new language appears in bold):

A full-time commissioned officer and judge advocate of the military services of the United States stationed in this state may be temporarily admitted to the Bar of Colorado, upon request of his or her commanding officer. Such admission shall be solely for the purpose of practice and court appearance in his or her capacity as a judge advocate and shall continue only as long as he or she is serving as a judge advocate in Colorado, except that the attorney shall also be allowed to act as a pro bono/emeritus attorney as described in C.R.C.P. 223(1) below without further application or fee.

CRCP 224, Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of a Major Disaster, was added to the Rules. The rule outlines the procedures for the temporary practice of law by otherwise unauthorized attorneys in Colorado following a major emergency disaster in Colorado or another jurisdiction. The complete rule can be read here.

CRCP 226.5, Legal Aid Dispensaries and Law School Externs, was added to the Rules. The rule outlines the authorization process for law students who work for legal aid clinics to give legal advice to clients and appear before courts on their behalf. The complete rule can be read here.

CRCP 251.5(b), Grounds for Discipline, was amended to read as follows (revised language appears in bold):

Any criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; provided that conviction thereof in a criminal proceeding shall not be a prerequisite to the institution of disciplinary proceedings, and provided further that acquittal in a criminal proceeding shall not necessarily bar disciplinary action;

This language replaces the following, which has been removed from the revised rule:

Any act or omission which violates the criminal laws of this state or any other state, or of the United States

CRCP 254, Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program, establishes an independent program to assist attorneys and judges who are impaired, begin or continue recovery, and protect the interests of clients and the public. The COLAP services will include assistance to members of the legal profession who suffer from physical or mental disabilities resulting from disease, disorder, trauma, or age and that impair their ability to practice, educating members of the bar about such issues to raise awareness, planning interventions, and providing aftercare services. The complete rule can be read here.

Click here to read the full release, Rule Change 2011(10), regarding all changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

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