The Supreme Court of South Carolina
RE: Amendments to Rule 402, SCACR
Pursuant to Article V, §4, of the South Carolina Constitution, Rule 402, SCACR, is amended as follows:
(1) Rule 402(c)(3) is amended to read:
(3) has received a JD or LLB degree from a law school which was approved by the Council of Legal Education of the American Bar Association at the time the degree was conferred. An approved law school includes a school that is provisionally approved by the Council. An applicant who has not provided proof of graduation by July 10th for the July Bar Examination or February 10th for the February Bar Examination shall not be allowed to sit for the examination. An applicant, however, who has not graduated may sit for the examination if the law school certifies in writing that the applicant has completed all requirements for graduation by July 10th for the July Bar Examination or February 10th for the February Bar Examination; the applicant must provide proof of graduation by April 1 following the February Bar Examination or October 1 following the July Bar Examination;
(2) Rule 402(c) (6) is amended to read:
(6) has received a scaled score of at least seventy-seven (77) on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. If the score was obtained prior to the filing of the application, the MPRE must have been taken within four (4) years of the date on which the application is filed. While an application can be filed without proof of completion of this requirement, applicants are warned that failure to timely submit proof of completion of this requirement can significantly delay admission as provided by subsection (k) of this rule;
(3) Rule 402(c)(8) is amended to read:
(8) has successfully completed the Bridge the Gap Program sponsored by the South Carolina Bar. While an application can be filed without proof of completion of this requirement, applicants are warned that failure to timely submit proof of completion of this requirement can significantly delay admission as provided by subsection (k) of this rule; and
(4) Rule 402(k) is amended to read:
(1) Admission Ceremonies. Admission ceremonies shall be conducted by the Supreme Court in February, May, August and November. Applicants must have submitted proof of completion of all requirements for admission (see subsection (c) of this rule) at least ten (10) days prior to the scheduled date of the ceremony to participate in that ceremony. Applicants who take the February Bar Examination are expected to have all requirements for admission completed for the May ceremony following the examination, and applicants who take the July Bar Examination are expected to have all requirements for admission completed for the November ceremony following the examination. Applicants will be notified of the date and time of the admission ceremony.
(2) Special Admission Ceremonies. On petition, the Court may schedule applicants for admission on other dates based on compelling circumstances such as illness or irreconcilable conflicts that prevent the applicant from appearing at one of the ceremonies established in (1) above. Applicants who are ineligible to participate in one of the admission ceremonies established in (1) above due to their failure to timely submit proof of completion of Bridge the Gap or the MPRE are not eligible to be admitted at a special admission ceremony.
(3) Fee and Oath. To be admitted, the applicant must pay a fee of $50 and take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that:
I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge those duties and will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States;
I will maintain the respect and courtesy due to courts of justice, judicial officers, and those who assist them;
To my clients, I pledge faithfulness, competence, diligence, good judgment and prompt communication;
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications;
I will not pursue or maintain any suit or proceeding which appears to me to be unjust nor maintain any defenses except those I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land, but this obligation shall not prevent me from defending a person charged with a crime;
I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me only such means as are consistent with trust and honor and the principles of professionalism, and will never seek to mislead an opposing party, the judge or jury by a false statement of fact or law;
I will respect and preserve inviolate the confidences of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with a client's business except from the client or with the client's knowledge and approval;
I will maintain the dignity of the legal system and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged;
I will assist the defenseless or oppressed by ensuring that justice is available to all citizens and will not delay any person's cause for profit or malice;
[So help me God.]
The oath or affirmation shall be administered in open Court and all persons admitted to the Bar shall sign their names in a book, kept for that purpose, in the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
These amendments shall be effective immediately. The monthly admission ceremonies that are currently scheduled through December 2008 shall not be affected by this order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Jean H. Toal C.J.
s/John H. Waller, Jr. J.
s/Costa M. Pleicones J.
s/Donald W. Beatty J.
s/John W. Kittredge J.
Columbia, South Carolina
September 17, 2008