Vol. 74 No. 10. Thinking Ethics: Lawyer Registration and Fees.

Author:By Stanton A. Hazlett
 
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Kansas Bar Journal

Ethics Columns.

2005.

Vol. 74 No. 10.

Thinking Ethics: Lawyer Registration and Fees

Vol. 74 No. 10 November/December 2005Thinking Ethics: Lawyer Registration and FeesBy Stanton A. HazlettIn May of every year lawyers in Kansas receive notice that the annual registration fees are due on July 1. The registration form sent out by the Clerk's Office requires each lawyer to provide certain information to that office. The purpose of this article is to explain why registration fees are collected and why lawyers are required to provide the information requested on the registration form.

Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 208, each Kansas lawyer shall register with the clerk of the appellate courts by July 1 and pay an annual fee in the amount determined by the Kansas Supreme Court. Lawyers may register as active, inactive, retired, or disabled due to mental or physical disabilities. To practice law, a lawyer must be registered as active. The registration fee is $150. If the registration fee is not paid by July 31, a late fee of $100 is assessed. If the fees are not paid by Oct. 1, the lawyer will be administratively suspended by the Court and assessed an additional $100 to be reinstated.

One might question why a lawyer would not pay the registration fee until after July 31, thus incurring a $100 late fee. Amazingly, this fiscal year 966 lawyers failed to pay registration fees by July 31 and therefore will incur the $100 late fee. The tardy payments will generate $96,600 in late fees. An additional 48 lawyers failed to pay registration fees by Oct. 1 and will now incur a $100 reinstatement fee as well as the possibility of being administratively suspended from the practice of law.

Some lawyers labor under the misconception that they can continue to practice even though they are administratively suspended. In reality, there is no difference between being administratively suspended, suspended, or disbarred as a result of an opinion issued by the Court in a disciplinary case. The lawyer cannot practice during the period of suspension, either in court or in the office. Lawyers practicing law while administratively suspended have been disciplined for the unauthorized practice of law in violation of KRPC 5.5. Judges have held that courts proceedings participated in by an administratively suspended lawyer are invalid...

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