Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

C.R.C.P. 205.8 Certification for Limited, Supervised Practice as a Graduate Before Admission By Examination

Frequently Asked Questions

To obtain certification, does the certified limited practice graduate need to be a W-2 employee of the supervisor?

Rule 205.8 does not address the legal relationship between graduate and supervisor. It does require that the supervising attorney listed on the certification application agree to a variety of responsibilities that may be difficult to fulfill if the graduate is not an employee of the supervisor or supervisor’s organization or firm.

As an employer, how much supervision is required of a certified graduate compared to supervision of a first-year associate?

C.R.C.P. 205.8(g) provides that the attorney supervising the certified limited practice graduate needs to sign and file papers prepared by the graduate to be filed in court, and depending on the case, the attorney may need to be present in courtroom proceedings being handled by the graduate. Practically speaking, most firms and organizations provide a similar level of supervision to first-year associates or attorneys.

Can someone other than the supervising attorney listed in the graduate’s application for certification fulfill the supervisory duties of Rule 205.8?

Yes. Other Colorado-licensed attorneys associated with the listed supervising attorney’s firm or organization may fulfill the supervisory duties under the rule.

Why is a dean’s certification required?

The requirement for a dean’s certification is consistent with the Law Student Practice Rule, Rule 205.7, which also allows for graduate practice under certain circumstances. Given that graduates may not have cleared all requirements for admission, including character and fitness, a dean’s certificate is appropriate.

How do certified limited practice graduates file documents in the state’s Co-Courts electronic filing system?

Certified graduates will not have an attorney registration number, and they cannot file documents by themselves. Instead, a Colorado-licensed attorney may file the court document with the certified graduate, whose name on the document must include the designation “Certified Limited Practice Graduate.”

Do certified limited practice graduates need to pay attorney registration fees or comply with CLE requirements?

No. The application fee is $50, but a graduate does not need to pay an annual registration fee or comply with the CLE requirements applicable to licensed attorneys.

Can a certified limited practice graduate talk with and advise a client without a supervising attorney present?

Yes. The graduate must include the designation “Certified Limited Practice Graduate” in client correspondence.

Can certified limited practice graduates attend a clinic for providing legal services to low-income individuals? What can they do in that clinic?

Yes, as long as they disclose to those with whom they have contact that they are Certified Limited Practice Graduates and not licensed attorneys, the graduates can meet with clinic attendees and respond to questions. The clinic should ensure that a Colorado-licensed attorney is available to assist if needed.

Can a certified limited practice graduate take a civil deposition or handle a civil court hearing without a supervising attorney present?

Yes, as long as the judge or presiding officer in the matter permits it, and the client consents to the absence of a licensed attorney.

Can a certified limited practice graduate participate in criminal proceedings?

Yes, under the circumstances set forth in Rule 205.8(g)(3)(C).

C.R.C.P. 205.8 is premised on the ability of certified limited practice graduates to take a February 2021 bar examination. What if that exam is canceled?

The Colorado Supreme Court has jurisdiction over both the February 2021 bar examination and Rule 205.8. If there are changes to the February 2021 bar examination, the Court also will have the opportunity to decide whether changes are needed to Rule 205.8.