Supreme Court Creates Limited Military Law License

Continuing a trend toward recognizing limited law licenses for specific purposes in Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court has adopted a new Rule 303 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules, creating a limited admission for military attorneys.

The new rule, adopted June 2, 2004, applies to any lawyer admitted to and in good standing with the bar of another state, who is a full-time active duty military officer in the office of the Staff Judge Advocate or Naval Legal Service Office of any of the United States armed services, or a member of a National Guard or Reserve legal unit performing as part of a Expanded Legal Assistance Program (ELAP). Such lawyers may apply for a limited license which enables them to represent certain active duty military personnel and their dependents before the courts and district justices of Pennsylvania in civil matters and administrative proceedings to the extent such representation is permitted by the supervisory Staff Judge Advocate or Commanding Officer. Lawyers with such a license are bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, and must meet continuing education requirements, but are not required to pay the annual attorney registration fee.

The full text of the new Rule 303 is available online here. The order adopting the rule may be viewed here. The rule change was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on June 19, 2004, and is effective immediately.