FAQs - Attorneys

Q.  When is admission required?

Attorneys must be admitted to the bar of this court before entering an appearance as counsel in this court. An attorney may file a document prior to admission to the bar of the Fourth Circuit, conditioned on subsequently qualifying for admission. An attorney may be named on the brief without being admitted to the bar of this court provided that at least one other attorney who appears on the brief has been admitted to the bar of the Fourth Circuit. Loc. R. 46(b). The court does not admit attorneys pro hac vice.

Q.  Who is eligible for admission?

An attorney is eligible for admission if:

  • of good moral and professional character and
  • admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest court of a state, another United States court of appeals, or a United States district court (including the district courts for Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands). Fed. R. App. P. 46(a).

Q.  How do I apply for admission?

  • Complete the application for admission, including signing the oath before a public notary and having a bar member sign the motion for admission. 
  • Mail the application to the clerk with the requisite $216 fee, made payable to the court of appeals clerk OR submit the application online (counsel must register for an ECF account) and submit payment by credit card. Loc. R. 46(b). The fee is waived for:

- court-appointed counsel
- counsel for the United States in a pending case
- law clerks to federal judges within the circuit

Q.  How do I enter an appearance in a case?

Counsel must be a member of the bar and a registered ECF filer to enter an appearance. Counsel representing a party must electronically file an appearance of counsel form within 14 days of the docketing notice or within 14 days of being retained or appointed. The court will send notices only to those attorneys who have filed their appearance forms.

Q.  Is counsel required to file electronically?

The Fourth Circuit adopted mandatory electronic filing by counsel for all cases effective June 1, 2008. Therefore, counsel must register for electronic filing and file and serve documents through the court’s CM/ECF system. For more information see: FAQs - Case Information & eFiling and Case Information & eFiling

Q.  Whom do I contact for help with electronic filing?

  • CM/ECF:  The Fourth Circuit Help Desk can be reached at (804) 916-2767 during normal business hours. You may also contact the case manager. Also see: Case Information & eFiling.

  • PACER:  For assistance with a PACER account, please contact PACER directly at www.pacer.gov or (800) 676-6856. The PACER Service Center hours of operation are 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Central Time Monday - Friday.

Q.  Whom do I contact with questions about my case?

A case manager is assigned to each appeal filed with the court, and their contact information is included in the docketing notice issued to the parties after filing of an appeal.  The case manager can assist you with procedural questions while the appeal is pending.

Q.  How do I withdraw from a case?

An attorney who has entered an appearance may withdraw only with consent of court after giving notice to the party represented. A motion to withdraw should state fully the reason for the request. Substitution of counsel may be effected by submitting an appearance of counsel form for new counsel, along with existing counsel's motion to withdraw. Loc. R. 46(c).