Qualified Children’s Attorneys
Rule 33, Part II, Subpart I of the Supreme Court Rules provides for qualification of children’s attorneys by meeting 3 requirements (licensed, in good standing, completion of 6 hours of approved legal education). The Supreme Court does not “qualify” attorneys per se, but does maintain a list of those attorneys who have met the qualification requirements. So attorneys are qualified as soon as they have met all three requirements, even if they haven’t sent in their paperwork and/or their names have not yet been posted on the website.
Section 1. Purpose
This rule provides an administrative procedure to ensure appointment of qualified counsel to children in child abuse and neglect proceedings.
Section 2. Applicability
The provisions of this rule apply to all counsel appointed on or after July 1, 2005 to represent children in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, as defined in Rule XXXIII, Part I, Section 2.
Section 3. Qualifications of Appointed Counsel
A. Prior to appointment as counsel for children in child abuse and neglect proceedings, an attorney shall have the following qualifications:
The attorney shall be licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana and in good standing with the Louisiana State Bar Association; and …
Effective January 1, 2006 and thereafter, the attorney shall complete a minimum of six hours of approved continuing legal education each calendar year, and shall submit to the Supreme Court documentation of compliance no later than January 31 of the following calendar year.
The requisite education shall include relevant law and jurisprudence, child development, child abuse and neglect, and the roles, responsibilities and duties of independent counsel for children, including the Standards for Representation of Children.
B. Attorneys shall submit evidence of their qualifications to the Louisiana Supreme Court, Division of Children and Families, and a list of attorneys qualified for appointment shall be maintained and published by the Court.
C. Appointment of counsel for children in child abuse and neglect cases shall be made from the list of qualified attorneys, except when the court appoints an attorney otherwise qualified but not yet on the list. In that case, the court shall document the qualifications of the attorney and instruct the attorney to file the documentation with the Supreme Court.
The 6 hours of “approved continuing legal education… shall include relevant law and jurisprudence, child development, child abuse and neglect, and the roles, responsibilities and duties of independent counsel for children, including the Standards for Representation of Children.” These hours may also qualify for MCLE hours. For example, we allow all 6 hours to be completed online, but in accordance with their rules the Bar will not give credit for all 6 online hours towards MCLE. There may be other trainings that meet our requirements that have not been approved for MCLE – such as some national conferences – but just because we will accept those hours does not mean that the Bar will. Likewise, there may be MCLE approved trainings that we would NOT consider appropriate for approval… usually based on the relevance of the subject matter.