“Let My People Go…to Delaware” - Paupers, Vagabonds and Fugitives from Justice Excepted

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Originally published in the ABI Journal, Vol. XXXII, No. 2, March 2013.

Delaware Local Bankruptcy Rule 9010-1 governs bar admissions and limits unfettered practice before its courts to those attorneys “admitted to practice in the District Court and those [attorneys] who may hereafter be admitted in accordance with these Rules.” It denies admission pro hac vice for those who are “regularly employed in Delaware” or “regularly engaged in business, professional, or other similar activities in Delaware.” It also requires attorneys who are admitted pro hac vice, but “not admitted to practice by the District Court and the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware,” to associate with a Delaware-licensed attorney “who maintains an office in the District of Delaware for the regular transaction of business,” unless otherwise ordered by the court.

In turn, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware limits full admission to its bar to attorneys who are not members of the Delaware Bar, while Delaware Supreme Court Rule 52 goes on to impose its own restrictive bar admission rules. Rule 52 includes a requirement that the applicant have a “preceptor” — a member of the Delaware Bar for at least 10 years — who can vouch for the applicant and a requirement that the applicant complete a five-month clerkship for a law firm, judge or public attorneys’ or legal aid office within the state of Delaware.

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