Press Release

Pa Supreme Court Approves Program Creating Emeritus Status for Retired Attorneys

Retired Pennsylvania attorneys interested in providing pro bono legal service will now be eligible for emeritus status through a new program approved by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Through this new program, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board hope to create a pool of qualified volunteer attorneys to provide services to those in need. "There is a significant gap between the need for pro bono legal services for the most vulnerable and the availability of those services in the community," Disciplinary Board Chair Doug Leonard said. "Creating this opportunity for retired attorneys will provide a valuable service while bolstering our efforts to provide access to justice for all." Attorneys seeking emeritus status must be retired and complete six hours of continuing legal education within one year prior to applying for the program. Those accepted into the program must fulfill continuing legal education requirements including six hours of substantive law, practice and procedure and two hours of ethics, professionalism or substance abuse.

Retired attorneys participating in the program must offer their pro bono services through an eligible legal aid organization — a not-for-profit organization that provides legal assistance -- and must have the organization approved by the Disciplinary Board.

On an annual basis, registered Pennsylvania lawyers are required to earn 12 CLE credits, including two hours of ethics credit. Lawyers participating in the new pilot program can earn up to a maximum of three credits per year toward their annual requirement.

"The CLE Board is eager to work with the Disciplinary Board and participating legal aid providers on this important initiative," CLE Board Chair Anthony Aliano said. "This program will expand the availability of qualified legal professionals for those in need."

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