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Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Branch

RULE 418

(a) Unlicensed Lawyer Defined. "Unlicensed lawyer" means any person who is admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction but who is not admitted to practice law in South Carolina under Rules 402, 405, 414 or 415, SCACR.

(b) Rules of Professional Conduct Applicable. Any advertising or solicitation by an unlicensed lawyer shall comply with Rules 7.1 through 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct contained in Rule 407, SCACR, when the advertising or solicitation is:

(1) An in-person contact with a potential client which occurs in South Carolina;

(2) A telephone communication (to include a facsimile of other electronic transmission) to a potential client at a telephone number in South Carolina;

(3) A letter or other document sent to a potential client through the U.S. mail or a private carrier to an address in South Carolina;

(4) An advertisement on a radio or television station located in South Carolina;

(5) An advertisement in a South Carolina a newspaper or any other publication which is primarily distributed in South Carolina; or

(6) Any other form of advertising or solicitation which is specifically targeted at potential clients in South Carolina.

(c) Misconduct; Procedure. For any advertising or solicitation covered by (b) above, it shall be misconduct for an unlicensed lawyer to violate or attempt to violate Rules 7.1 through 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another. The Commission on Lawyer Conduct shall have jurisdiction over allegations that an unlicensed lawyer has committed misconduct. The procedure for investigating and hearing these allegations shall be the same as that provided by the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement contained in Rule 413, SCACR, for allegations that a lawyer admitted to practice law in this State has committed misconduct, to include the immunity and confidentiality provisions contained in those rules.

(d) Sanctions for Misconduct. An unlicensed lawyer who commits misconduct under this rule may receive a letter of caution or any form of discipline contained in Rule 7(b)(4)-(10) of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement. In addition, an unlicensed lawyer who has committed misconduct under this rule may be ordered to refund all fees paid to the unlicensed lawyer pursuant to any contract of employment arising out of the advertising or solicitation. Misconduct under this rule may also be punished as a contempt of the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court may issue injunctions against future violations.

(e) Unauthorized Practice of Law Unaffected. Nothing in this rule shall be construed to allow an unlicensed attorney to engage in the practice of law in South Carolina.

(f) Debarred Lawyer. An unlicensed lawyer who has been debarred in South Carolina pursuant to Rule 7(b)(9), RLDE, is prohibited from advertising or solicitation in South Carolina. See Rule 2(g), RLDE.

Amended by Order dated January 17, 2018.