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Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of Major Disaster

Part XXI, Provision of Legal Services Following Determination of Major Disaster, Rule 121, authorizes lawyers who are not admitted to practice law in Georgia to provide legal services in this state under certain narrowly defined circumstances following a major disaster.

Out-of-state lawyers interested in temporarily practicing law in Georgia under Rule 121 should carefully read the entire rule, although a summary of the rule is provided below.

Rule 121 allows out-of-state lawyers to (1) temporarily practice law pro bono in Georgia following the determination by the Supreme Court of Georgia that an emergency affecting the justice system, as a result of a major disaster, has occurred in Georgia, and (2) provide legal services on a temporary basis in Georgia related to the lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction affected by a major disaster. However, both categories of practice by out-of-state lawyers are subject to several limitations:

  • The Supreme Court of Georgia must have made a determination of the existence of a major disaster that affects the judicial system either in Georgia or in another jurisdiction. The State Bar of Georgia will post such a determination on its website.
  • If either Rule 121(1)(a) or 121(2) apply, then the out-of-state lawyer must submit a notarized registration statement to the State Bar of Georgia that provides the information required under Rule 121(2). Click here to access the statement form.
  • If Rule 121(1)(b) applies, then the out-of-state lawyer must submit a notarized registration statement to the State Bar of Georgia that provides the information required under Rule 121(3). Click here to access the statement form.
    • Registration statements can be submitted to the State Bar of Georgia at the following address:
    • Office of the General Counsel
      State Bar of Georgia
      104 Marietta St. NW
      Suite 100
      Atlanta, Georgia 30303
      Attn: Kathy Jackson
  • With regard to pro bono services, the Supreme Court of Georgia will also determine whether demand for such services from former residents of the disaster area exceeds the availability of these services from local lawyers. The State Bar of Georgia will post such a determination on its website.
  • If pro bono representation is allowed by the Supreme Court of Georgia, the pro bono services can only be provided under the supervision of an entity acknowledged in Rule 121(2). Click here to access a list of established pro bono programs. This is not an exhaustive list.
  • Any authorization to practice would be time limited. Pro bono representation authorization would cease when the court determines that the disaster is over except that lawyers would be allowed to complete the representation of existing clients. The authorization to practice for displaced lawyers would terminate 60 days after the court's determination that the disaster is over.
  • Out-of-state lawyers authorized to provide temporary legal services in this jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 121(2) or (3) are subject to the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.

Click here for a list of out-of-state lawyers that have been authorized by the Supreme Court of Georgia to practice under Bar Rule 121 and the underlying court order(s).

Please contact Kathy Jackson at 404-526-8603 or kathyj@gabar.org for additional information.

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