The following definitions shall apply to the terms used in this section:
(a) Clinical legal education program – Experiential educational program that engages students in “real world” legal matters through supervised practice experience. Under the supervision of a faculty member or site supervisor who is accountable to the law school, students assume the role of a lawyer either as a protégé, lead counsel, or a member of a lawyer team.
(b) Eligible persons - Persons who are unable financially to pay for legal advice or services as determined by a standard established by a judge of the General Court of Justice, a legal services organization, government entity, or a clinical legal education program. “Eligible persons” may include minors who are not financially independent; students enrolled in secondary and higher education schools who are not financially independent; non-profit organizations serving low-income communities; and other organizations financially unable to pay for legal advice or services.
(c) Field placement - Practical training opportunities that place students in legal practice settings external to the law school. Students in a field placement represent clients or perform other lawyering roles under the supervision of practicing lawyers or other qualified legal professionals. Supervising attorneys provide direct feedback and guidance to the students. Site supervisors have administrative responsibility for the legal intern program at the field placement. Such practical training opportunities include the following:
(1) Externships - Courses within a law school's clinical legal education program in which the law school places students in legal practice settings external to the law school. Faculty have overall responsibility for assuring the educational value of the learning in the field.
(2) Government internships - Practical training opportunities in which students are placed in government agencies. No law school credit is earned for such placements. A government internship may be facilitated by the student's law school or obtained by the student independently. Although not required, faculty oversight is encouraged to ensure the educational value of the placement.
(3) Internships - Practical training opportunities in which students are placed in legal practice settings external to the law school. No law school credit is earned for such placements. An internship may be facilitated by the student's law school or obtained by the student independently. Some faculty oversight through the law school’s clinical legal education program is required.
(d) Certified law student - A law student who is certified to work in conjunction with a supervising attorney to provide legal services to clients under the provisions of this subchapter.
(e) Government agencies - The federal or state government, any local government, or any agency, department, unit, or other entity of federal, state, or local government, specifically including a public defender's office or a district attorney's office.
(f) Law school - An ABA accredited law school or a law school actively seeking accreditation from the ABA and licensed by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina. If ABA accreditation is not obtained by a law school so licensed within three years of the commencement of classes, legal interns may not practice, pursuant to these rules, with any legal aid clinic of the law school.
(g) Law school clinic - Courses within a law school’s clinical legal education program that place students in a legal practice setting operated by the law school. Students in a law school clinic assume the role of a lawyer representing actual clients or performing other lawyering roles. Supervision of students is provided by faculty employed by the law school (full-time, part-time, adjunct) who are active members of the North Carolina State Bar or another bar as appropriate for the legal matters undertaken.
(h) Legal services organization - A nonprofit North Carolina organization organized to operate in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 84-5.1.
(i) Pro bono activity - An opportunity while in law school for students to provide legal services to those unable to pay, or otherwise under a disability or disadvantage, consistent with the objectives of Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
(j) Rules of Professional Conduct - The Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar, approved by the North Carolina Supreme Court, and in effect at the time of application of the rules in this subchapter.
(k) Site supervisor - The attorney at a student practice placement who assumes administrative responsibility for the certified law student program at the placement and provides the statements to the State Bar and the certified law student’s law school required by Rule .0205(b) of this subchapter. A site supervisor may also be a supervising attorney at a student practice placement.
(l) Supervising attorney - An active member of the North Carolina State Bar, or an attorney who is licensed in another jurisdiction as appropriate for the legal work to be undertaken, who has practiced law as a full-time occupation for at least two years, and who supervises one or more certified law students pursuant to the requirements of the rules in this subchapter.
History Note: Statutory Authority G.S. 84-23
Readopted Effective December 8, 1994
Amendments Approved by the Supreme Court: June 7, 2001; March 6, 2002; March 6, 2008; September 25, 2019; April 21, 2021; December 14, 2021