The Benefits of Emerits Status: for Attorneys and for Maine

Emeritus status under Maine Bar Rule 4(f) was designed to encourage those attorneys – regardless of age or years in practice - who might decide to relinquish their license in certain circumstances to consider a status that releases them from CLE and fee requirements and keeps them within the Bar to support pro bono services.

Maine Bar Rule 4(f) states that “The purpose of enacting emeritus status is to encourage and provide retiring attorneys, or non-practicing attorneys who have chosen other career paths, who otherwise may choose inactive status, the opportunity to provide pro bono publico legal services under the auspices of an Approved Legal Service Organization.”

Bar Rule 5 exempts emeritus attorneys from CLE requirements and although registration is still required, there is no annual fee associated with it. This is an ideal situation for retiring attorneys. However, others can benefit from emeritus status, as well.

To utilize the emeritus status, you must have:

1. Discontinued the practice of law
2. Given notice required by Maine Bar Rule 4(e)
3. Completed the Emeritus Status Statement, and
4. Obtain on your emeritus application the signature of an Approved Legal Service Organization

Legal service organizations typically provide malpractice insurance for legal services you provide through them. As an example, participation in Free Legal Answers Maine is covered by ABA provided malpractice insurance, while your work with VLP cases or clinics is covered by VLP-provided coverage.