What is Emeritus Status?
Under Article 1 of the By-Laws of the State Bar of Montana, the class of emeritus state bar membership (and the waiver of all state bar dues) may be granted to a member who meets the qualifications, so that the member may provide pro bono or volunteer services to low-income individuals even if the member does not otherwise maintain an active practice.
What is required?
An attorney must apply for Emeritus status and be approved by the Executive Director of the State Bar of Montana.
- Engagement in the active practice of law for a minimum of 10 of the 15 years immediately preceding the application for emeritus status or has judicial status;
- No record of public discipline imposed in the past 15 years;
- Agrees to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct;
- Neither asks for nor receives compensation of any kind for the legal services;
- Does not engage in the practice of law except in association with a qualified provider;
- Annually completes 25 hours of pro bono service by April 1;
Annual CLE Reporting
What CLE reporting is required?
Each emeritus member shall complete a minimum of ten (10) credit hours of approved continuing legal education activity each year. Each of those ten (10) credit hours must be certified by a qualified provider of legal services as training prescribed for emeritus lawyers and related to the field of law for which such lawyers provide legal services to persons unable to pay for such services.
In addition, of the ten (10) credit hours, at least five (5) credit hours must be earned by attendance at interactive seminars as defined in Rule 7. No more than five (5) credit hours may be earned through “other methods” as defined in Rule 7.
If an emeritus member accumulates more interactive credits than required in a year, the excess interactive credits may be carried forward and applied to either or both of the next two succeeding years. Credits earned by “other methods” may not be carried forward. A maximum of twenty (20) interactive credit hours may be carried forward. Emeritus members are subject to the same requirements as active members for credit hours in ethics. All CLE filing fees shall be waived for emeritus members.
What is a qualified provider?
The State Bar of Montana Justice Initiatives Committee approves nonprofit service providers. As a general rule, a qualified provider is one who meets the MLSA nonprofit group requirements, or a nonprofit legal aid organization that provides malpractice insurance for an emeritus member in a civil case on behalf of an individual who is unable to pay for representation. These cases must be filed in Montana.
Download Emeritus Nonprofit Legal Service Provider (NPO) Application
Qualifying nonprofit organizations
If you would like to volunteer for an organization that is not currently listed as a qualifying organization, contact Ann Goldes Sheahan, State Bar Equal Justice Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 447-2201.