Invitation to Comment on

Proposed Change to Law Student Practice Rule

Requested by the New Orleans City Attorney's Office

The New Orleans City Attorney's Office has proposed a pilot program called "Project Renew" in an effort to address blighted housing and property in New Orleans. As a component of the pilot program, the City Attorney's Office is asking the Court to amend the Law Student Practice Rule (Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX) to allow a law clinic to represent absentee defendants in Project Renew cases.

A Court rule has been drafted which would serve to implement the request made by the City Attorney's Office. It is anticipated that the pilot program will be operated for six months or 50 cases, whichever occurs first. Before considering the rule for final adoption, the Court decided to place the proposed rule on its website for comments.

Should you wish to comment on the proposed rule change, please forward your comments to Deputy Judicial Administrator/General Counsel Tim Averill at the following address:

Tim Averill

Deputy Judicial Administrator/General Counsel

Office of the Judicial Administrator

Supreme Court of Louisiana

1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1540

New Orleans, LA 70112-3701

or via e-mail to:

All comments should be received no later than Friday, August 15, 2003. Please be advised that any comments which are forwarded constitute matters of public record and are subject to public inspection.







Acting in accordance with Article V, Sections 1 and 5 of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution, and the inherent power of this Court, and considering the need to make a temporary amendment to the rules of this Court concerning the limited participation of law students in trial work,


Part I. Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX, Section 4.1 be and is hereby adopted to read as follows:

Section 4.1.

A Louisiana law clinic may be appointed in any case brought under La. R.S. 13:2575 and/or 2576 against a defendant described in La. C.C.P. Art. 5091 . In such cases, written consent to the appointment shall not be required. Such defendants shall be presumed to be indigent or an indigent community organization, as the case may be, until such time as a final determination of indigency may reasonably be made after a due and diligent investigation. If any such investigation reveals that such defendant's income exceeds the level set by this rule, the presumption of indigency shall cease and the representation of such defendant shall be terminated, except that the law school clinical program staff and student practitioners may continue to protect the defendant's rights from prejudice until substitute counsel is recognized as counsel of record for such defendant.

In cases where a Louisiana law clinic is appointed to represent a defendant described in La. C.C.P. Art. 5091 , an eligible law student may appear on behalf of the defendant, but the supervising lawyer shall be personally present throughout the proceedings and shall be fully responsible for the manner in which the proceedings are conducted. An eligible law student may prepare pleadings and other documents under the general supervision of the supervising lawyer, but such pleadings or documents must be signed by the supervising lawyer.

Part II. This amendment to Rule XX shall become effective on _________________ and shall remain in full force and effect until ___________________, at which time this rule change shall be repealed by force of law, unless terminated sooner upon Order of this Court.

New Orleans, Louisiana, this ______ day of _______________, 2003.



Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., Chief Justice