Rule VI. Appointment of Counsel and Fees

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Rule VI. Appointment of Counsel and Fees

   A. The court will appoint counsel for a party determined indigent by the court and whenever else appointment of counsel would be appropriate in the exercise of the court's discretion. The parties shall complete a Request for Court-Appointed Counsel as directed by the court.

   B. Attorneys appointed as a guardian ad litem shall have fulfilled the training requirements described in Neb. Ct. R. § 4-401(A) of the Nebraska Supreme Court rule regarding guardian ad litem training for attorneys and shall maintain their eligibility to serve as a guardian ad litem by completing ongoing specialized training as provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts Judicial Branch Education Division. If the required ongoing training has not been completed, attorneys appointed as a guardian ad litem will ahve 30 days to obtain the necessary training or will be removed from the case and a new guardian ad litem appointed by the court.

   C. The court may require any party to resubmit a financial statement periodically as ordered by the court. The court may order parties to reimburse Lancaster County for the services of court-appointed counsel if their financial situations change. Failure to maintain contact with counsel may result in the attorney's being discharged.

   D. Attorneys willing to serve as court appointed counsel shall complete the form entitled "Request for Court Appointment List" and shall file it with the Juvenile Court Administrator. The Juvenile Court Judges shall review the request and place the attorney on the list in the appropriate categories. The Juvenile Court Administrator shall maintain a current list of attorneys and the list shall be open to public inspection upon request. 

   E. Appointments of attorneys shall be made on an impartial and equitable basis and shall be distributed among attorneys on a rotation system, subject to the court's sole discretion to make exceptions due to the nature and complexity of the case, an attorney's experience, the nature and disposition of the party, a language consideration, a conflict of interest, the availability of an attorney, geographic considerations, prior or current representation of a party, and any other relevant factors that may be involved in a specific case. 

   F. The court will monitor attorney performance on a continuing basis to ensure the competency of attorneys on the appointment list. An attorney may be removed from the list by a majority vote of juvenile court judges.  If an attorney is under consideration for removal from the list, written notification will be given indicating the concerns giving rise to consideration for removal, and be given the opportunity to respond in writing before a final decision is made. An attorney who has been removed from the list may be considered for reinstatement by a majority vote of the judges after the deficiencies contained in the notice have been resolved. A practicing attorney who wishes to have his/her name removed from the list shall file a request for removal with the Juvenile Court Administrator.

   G. Court-appointed counsel shall utilize the Juvenile Court web-based system to submit requests for approval of attorney fees pursuant to Lancaster County Juvenile Court Attorney Fee Guidelines.

Rule VI(C)-(F) amendments approved December 10, 2014; Rule VI amendments approved November 15, 2017; Rule VI(A) amendments approved September 5, 2018; Rule VI(E) amended May 17, 2023.