In Massachusetts, eligible senior law students may appear on behalf of the Commonwealth, indigent defendants in criminal proceedings, or indigent parties in civil proceedings in certain courts under SJC Rule 3:03.
Am I eligible for Rule 3:03 certification?
To qualify under Rule 3:03, you must satisfy the following criteria:
- You must be a “senior law student.” You must have successfully completed your next to last year of law school study and be applying at least three months prior to graduation.
- If you are not a senior law student but you have begun your next to last year of law study and are enrolled in a clinic, you may be certified to appear in civil proceedings as part of your participation in the clinical instruction program.
- You must have successfully completed or be enrolled in Evidence or Trial Practice.
- The dean must submit a written approval of your character, legal ability, and training to the court.
What can I do if I am certified?
If you qualify under Rule 3:03,
- You may appear in certain courts and administrative agencies on behalf of the commonwealth or indigent persons in criminal and civil proceedings.
- You appear without compensation and under the general supervision of a member of the bar described in Rule 3:03(1).
How do I get certified?
- Complete the Rule 3:03 Student Practitioner Form (PDF).
- If you are seeking certification in a course (a clinic or field placement) for which you will receive academic credit, give the form to the professor.
- If you are seeking certification in an internship for which you will not receive academic credit, submit the form to the Law School Career Services office. You must also submit a copy of the Rule 3:03 Certification Guidelines for Non-Academic Credit Internships (PDF), signed by the supervising attorney.
- The law school will process your forms and submit them to the court. Once the court has received the completed forms, it will process the request and issue a Notice of Certification to the law school, the supervising attorney, and the student within seven to ten business days.