Standards For Qualifications Of Assigned Counsel
Department Of Professional And Financial Regulation
On Indigent Legal Services
Summary: This chapter establishes the standards prescribing
minimum experience, training and other qualifications for contract counsel
and assigned counsel to be eligible to accept appointments to represent
indigent people, who are eligible for a constitutionally-required attorney.
All attorneys wishing to accept case assignments by the
Commission must complete an application in the manner prescribed
by the Commission. The Commission will not act on an application until
it is complete. No attorney will be assigned a case until that attorney
completes an application.
2. Minimum Experience, Training And Other Eligibility Requirements
attorney wishing to accept case assignments from the Commission,
serve as contract counsel or otherwise be approved by the Commission
to accept assignments must satisfy the following conditions.
The attorney must be licensed to practice law
in the State of Maine. The attorney must be in good standing
with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar and must
promptly inform the Commission of a complaint against
him or her before the Maine Board of Overseers of the
Bar that has been set for a grievance or panel hearing.
The attorney must inform the Commission within 30 days
of any criminal conviction or any other resolution of
a criminal charge in any jurisdiction that is not an
outright dismissal or acquittal, including but not limited
to a deferred disposition pursuant to 17-A M.R.S.A. § 1348-A
or a Maine Rule of Criminal Procedure 11B filing of a
criminal charge against the attorney.
2. Attorney Cooperation with Procedures and Monitoring
The attorney must register with the Commission annually in
a manner prescribed by the Commission. The attorney must
comply with all applicable Commission rules and procedures. The attorney
must comply with monitoring, performance evaluations, and investigations
of any complaints, including billing discrepancies, by the Commission
or its designee.
3. Office, Telephone, and Electronic Mail
The attorney must maintain an
office or have the use of space that is reasonably accessible
to clients and that permits the private discussion of confidential and
other sensitive matters.
The attorney must maintain a telephone number,
which shall be staffed by personnel available for answering
telephone calls or an answering service, an answering machine or voicemail
capability that ensures client confidentiality.
The attorney must maintain
a confidential working e-mail account as a means of receiving information
from and providing information to the Commission.
The attorney must keep
the Commission and the courts in which the attorney represents indigent clients
apprised of the attorney’s
work telephone number and postal electronic mail addresses. The attorney
must ensure that the court has the ability to contact the attorney by
mail and by telephone.
4. Experience and Proficiency
The attorney shall demonstrate the necessary
and sufficient experience and proficiency required to accept appointments
as provided below.
A. For the first year of the Commission’s operation,
which is July 2010 to June 30, 2011, if the attorney has been assigned
cases by the judicial branch prior to July 1, 2010, the attorney must
satisfactorily complete a Commission-approved training course for the
area of the law for which the attorney is willing to accept appointments,
including but not limited to, criminal defense, juvenile defense, civil
commitment or child protective, within 12 months of first assignments
from the Commission; or
B. After the
first year of the Commission’s operation, any attorney not previously
having been accepted to receive appointments from the Commission must
satisfactorily complete a Commission-sponsored or Commission-approved
training course for the area of the law for which the attorney is willing
to accept appointments, including but not limited to, criminal defense,
juvenile defense, civil commitment or child protective, prior to accepting
C. An attorney may
be accepted to receive assignments from the Commission without completing
a Commission-sponsored or Commission-approved training course as provided
above if the attorney demonstrates to the Commission a commitment to and
proficiency in the practice of the area of law for which the Attorney is
willing to accept appointments over the course of at least the three years
prior to receiving appointments from the Commission.
shall annually complete 8 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) approved
by the Commission. The attorney shall meet any specific training requirements
of any specialized panels, which may include but are not limited to homicide,
child protective, or involuntary commitment as is required by those panels.
AUTHORITY: 4 M.R.S.A. § 1804(2)(B)