BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT OF
THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
I. Admission Through Trust Territory High Court Certification
A. Attorneys. Any person who, as of July 12, 1981, has been certified and is entitled to practice law as an attorney before the Trust Territory High Court shall be certified as an attorney entitled to practice law before the FSM Supreme Court, upon tendering on or before July 11, 1982, satisfactory proof of these facts and moral and character certifications in compliance with Paragraph II.B. of these Rules of Admission, and an admission fee in the amount of $25.00.
B. Trial Counselors. Any citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia who has been certified and is entitled to practice as a trial counselor before the highest court in any state within the Federated States of Micronesia shall be certified as a trial counselor entitled to practice law, under the supervision of an attorney, before the Supreme Court, upon tendering to this Court satisfactory proof of facts and moral and character certification with compliance with Paragraph II. B. of these Rules of Admission. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 1985-3 dated July 11, 1985).
II. Admission Through Written Examination
Except for those qualifying under Rule I.A., persons desiring to be certified as attorneys eligible to practice law before the FSM Supreme Court shall apply for permission to take the Federated States of Micronesia written examination, which shall be administered semiannually, on the first Thursdays of March and August of each year. Such applications shall satisfy the following requirements A, B and C.
A. Experience or Educational Requirement ) Each noncitizen of the Federated States of Micronesia seeking the opportunity to take the FSM Written Examination must demonstrate compliance with standard 1 below. Applicants who are citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia may demonstrate compliance with any of the five following standards.
1. Bar Membership Standard ) The applicant shall submit to the Court a certificate of good standing establishing that the applicant is in good standing as an attorney eligible to practice law before the highest court in all jurisdiction(s), other than those within the Federated States of Micronesia, in which the applicant is, or has been, licensed to practice. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 1997-1, dated January 17, 1997).
2. Law School Graduation Standard ) The applicant shall submit to the Court satisfactory proof of graduation from a law school whose graduates are entitled, upon fulfillment of requirements generally applicable in that jurisdiction for graduates of accredited law schools, to admission as attorneys to practice in the jurisdiction where the law school is located, provided however, that students who graduated from law schools located outside of the jurisdictions of the Federated States of Micronesia and of the United States shall be required to complete a one year period of internship, under terms and conditions approved by this Court, prior to applying for permission to take the examination.
3. Experience and Competency Standard ) The applicant shall submit certifications, by the applicant and one or more attorneys, establishing to the court's satisfaction the professional experience and competence of the applicant. At a minimum the certifications shall demonstrate that within the two (2) year period prior to the date of application, the applicant has had at least four (4) separate trial experiences and at least ten (10) days of trial experience, all under the immediate supervision of an attorney.
For the purposes of these requirements a "trial experience" is one in which witnesses are questioned under oath or affirmation, for evidentiary or discovery purposes, in the presence of opposing counsel and subject to cross-examination, either in the presence of a trier of fact or where a verbatim record of testimony is being taken. The applicant need not have conducted the actual questioning but, if not, there must have been reasonably full discussion between the applicant and the supervising attorney of the nature and the method of the questioning.
To be "separate," each such qualifying trial experience must have occurred in a different case, that is, in litigation involving different parties and with different court case than in any other trial experience relied upon.
The requirement of ten "days" of trial experiences may be fulfilled by the questioning of at least one witness, however briefly, under the conditions described above, on each of the ten different days.
The certification shall describe each trial experience, including the nature of the interaction between the attorney and the applicant. Each attorney and the applicant must also certify that they believe the applicant is capable of practicing law at a level of competence which meets the professional standard of the community of attorneys certified to practice before the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court. In submitting such certification, the applicant should also describe any additional experience or training which the applicant believes should be considered by the court in determining whether the applicant meets the experience and competency standard.
4. College of Micronesia ) Trial Counselor Certificate Program Standard ) The applicant shall submit to the Court satisfactory proof of graduation from the College of Micronesia's Trial Counselor Certificate Program. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2001-1, dated January 15, 2001).
5. State Court Judge ) The applicant shall submit to the Court proof of appointment and confirmation as a judge of a State Court of the FSM and of current good standing in that position.(Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2012-01
B. Morals and Character Requirements ) Each applicant certified that no criminal charge, or charge of violation of professional responsibilities, is currently pending against the applicant, and that the applicant has never been convicted of any crime or found guilty of violation of professional ethics or responsibilities. If any such charges, convictions, or findings of violations of professional responsibilities are pending or have been made against the applicant these shall be certified and described in detail in the application and will be subject to further investigation by the court. False or incomplete certification may be considered grounds for disbarment. The court may require, in addition to the applicant's certificate, other proof of good character. The applicant shall bear the cost, if any, of obtaining such additional proof.
C. Residence or Citizenship Requirement ) Each applicant shall be a resident or domiciliary of the Federated States of Micronesia, or a Federated States of Micronesia citizen. Applicants relying upon fulfillment of the law school graduation standard (Paragraph II.A.2) or the experience and competency standard (Paragraph II.A.3) must be citizens of the Federated states of Micronesia.
D. The Written Examination )All application for written examination or reexamination shall be filed, with supporting documents and non refundable application fee of twenty five ($25.00) dollars, in the offices of the FSM Supreme Court in Pohnpei at least 60 days prior the date scheduled for the written examination. Upon Showing of Good cause the Court may permit filing of application up to 21 days prior to the date of the written examination. After the 21-days dealine no further applications will be recieved or considered. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 2012-01 dated June 14, 2012).
An examination will normally be administered on the first Thursdays of March and August of each year and the duration of each examination will be approximately five (5) hours. The written examination may cover any legal issue relevant to the practice of law within the Federated States of Micronesia but will concentrate upon Federated States of Micronesia constitutional law, Federated States of Micronesia statutory law, Micronesian customary law, criminal law, legal ethics, evidence, admiralty, legal research, Federated States of Micronesia procedural rules, and administrative law. The examination questions, and answers, shall be in English.
Any otherwise qualified applicant shall be permitted to take an unlimited number of examinations until such person has successfully completed the entire examination. An applicant who fails any section(s) of the examination shall be required to take all remaining section(s), not previously passed, at any subsequent reexamination.
The examination shall consist of the following three sections:
Section Percentage of Exam
A score of 65% of the points available in an examination will be a passing score. Any person who earns a score equal to 65% or more of the points available in any of the three sections identified above will receive credit for section(s) even if he or she fails to earn 65% or more of the points available overall in that exam. Thereafter, that person need only complete successfully the remaining sections(s) in subsequent examinations in order to receive credit for successful completion of an entire examination.
Upon Court certification of successful completion of the examination, the applicant shall be certified as an attorney entitled to practice law before the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order No. 1986-2, dated April 10. 1986); (Note: Amended pursuant to General Court Order No. 1997-1, dated January 17, 1997).
III. Admission Through Reciprocity
(Note: Deleted pursuant to General Court Order No. 1997-1 dated January 17, 1997).
IV. Application to Appear for A Particular Case
The Court will consider, on a case by case basis, applications from the following to practice before the Court in specific cases.
A. Attorney Admitted to Practice In Other Jurisdictions ) The Court will consider, among other things: the likelihood that granting of the motion may delay proceedings, because of communication or transportation problems; whether the movant, if not a resident of the Federated States of Micronesia, will be affiliated with local counsel knowledgeable about the litigation and capable of appearing at pre-trial and other preliminary proceedings; whether the movant, if a resident of the Federated States of Micronesia, is moving as expeditiously as possible to obtain certification as an attorney within the Federated States of Micronesia; the availability of other counsel; the complexity of the case; whether there had been prior professional association of the attorney with the client; the proof adduced of good character, competence, and admission in other jurisdictions; and any other factors indicating whether the granting of the motion would be in the interests of justice.
B. Trial Counselors Wishing to Appear Without Attorney Supervision ) In addition to any relevant criteria specified in Rule IV.A., the court will consider the availability to the trial counselor of an attorney for consultation; the wishes of the client and whether there had been prior professional association of the trial counselor with the client; the complexity of the litigation and importance of the issues to the jurisprudence of the Federated States of Micronesia; the previously demonstrated competence of the trial counselor and other factors indicating whether the granting of the motion would be in the interests of justice.
C. Law Students Who Have Satisfactorily Completed At Least One Year of Matriculation At an Accredited Law School ) These motions will be granted only if (1) the student is an employee of an agency whose principal purpose is to provide legal representation for indigents and (2) in the court's judgment, adequate arrangements have been made for careful supervision by an attorney of the law student's representation of the client.
V. Association With Attorney or Trial Counselor
An attorney admitted to practice before this Court who does not reside or maintain an office within the Federated States of Micronesia in which particular litigation is pending, may be required to associate with an attorney or trial counselor admitted to practice before the Court who resides or maintains an office within the State.
VI. Citizens Who Are Law Graduates To Be Certified As Trial Counselors
Any citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia who graduates from law school which meets the requirements specified in rule II.A.2 shall be certified as a trail counselor entitled to practice law, under the supervision of an attorney, before the FSM Supreme Court, upon tendering to this Court satisfactory proof of these facts and moral and character certifications in compliance with Paragraph II.B. of these Rules for Admission. (Note: Adopted pursuant to General Court Order 1982-5, dated December 28, 1982.)
VII. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct
The Model Rules of Professional Conduct, as adopted by the American Bar Association on August 2, 1983, are hereby made applicable to the actions and practice of attorneys and trial counselors before this Court. The word "lawyer" as it appears in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct shall be deemed to refer to attorneys and trial counselors practicing before this Court. (Note: Adopted on September 2, 1983, General Court Order 1983-2.)