South Dakota Legal Service Organizations & South Dakota Pro Bono

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Pro Bono

In South Dakota pro bono attorneys are governed by 16-17-4.1 It enables attorneys from other states or not in active practice to provide legal services to non-profits or indigent individuals in South Dakota.

Applications by Attorneys

Attorneys seeking to be a South Dakota pro bono attorney or assist with a legal organization must file an application to work for a legal organization with the clerk of the Supreme Court of South Dakota. They must include with the application:

  • Proof of a being barred in another state
  • Proof they have not been disciplined nor are facing discipline within the past 15 years or the foreseeable future
  • Proof of being up to date with CLE requirements
  • An affidavit from their employer that they have obtained the position
  • An affidavit signed by the attorney that they have read the South Dakota rules on professional conduct, and understands they must report any disciplinary actions against them to the South Dakota courts.

Applicants will have their authorization terminate by the court if they no longer work for the legal services organization and must submit a notification to the Clerk of the South Dakota Supreme Court and the bar within 10-14 days.

Practice and Restrictions

Attorneys may practice law for their legal organizations or for South Dakota pro bono matters only while employed by such organization or client.  Attorneys must also adhere to the following:

  • Can not use any other title to describe their ability to represent entities or clients other than that they are a pro bono attorney for a limited amount of time or if they are a registered legal services attorney
    • Attorneys cannot claim they are a member of the South Dakota bar
  • Make certain their employer has indicated that they, the attorney will:
    • Work without compensation
    • Work solely for the employer
    • Will be supervised by a South Dakota barred attorney, who will be liable for the non-barred attorneys conduct.
    • Has read the South Dakota rules of professional responsibility
    • That they are in good standing in their licensed jurisdictions
  • Attorneys will also be directed by either the Dakota Plains, East River legal services or by the access to justice or another recognized pro bono program that is approve by the state.