California Bar Journal
CBJ - July 2008 #06.
Hundreds face suspension for not paying dues or complying with MCLE
California Bar JournalJune 2008Hundreds face suspension for not paying dues or complying with MCLEAs of June 15, more than 4,000 lawyers faced losing their license to practice law for failing to pay their annual State Bar dues. Another 2,000 had not submitted their MCLE compliance and also faced suspension July 1. Lawyers actually suspended for non-payment of fees will be assessed a $100 reinstatement fee before being allowed to practice law again, and those suspended for MCLE non-compliance will be assessed a $200 reinstatement fee. The board of governors approved a list of lawyers who faced suspension in May.
The non-disciplinary suspensions mean bar members are placed on "administrative inactive" status, but the practical effect is the inability to practice.
As the deadline neared, numbers in both categories were significantly higher this year than in the two previous years. In 2006, when the final suspension deadline was Sept. 15, 1,738 of the bar's more than 200,000 lawyers were actually suspended for not paying their dues. Last year, when the deadline was Aug. 15, the actual number of members suspended dropped to 1,661.
"It has been our experience that many late-paying members, already knowing they owe the penalty fees, wait until the last minute to pay their fees and penalties," said Dean Kinley, coordinator of the fee statement process. He noted that a Supreme Court order was sent to those on the fee suspension list on June 18. They had already received a final delinquent notice in March.
The final deadline to avoid suspension was June 30.
In past years, the bar sent as many as four delinquent letters to lawyers who did not pay on time, and they were not suspended until September, more than six months after the statutory deadline. The board voted two years ago to adhere to the statutory dues...