Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

No More Mailed Invoices for NC Bar Fees

If you’re a North Carolina-licensed lawyer, you won’t be receiving a State Bar membership fee invoice in the mail in 2020.

Instead, you’ll get a postcard reminding you to pay your fees. You’ll also get email notices to that effect.

This marks a first in North Carolina. Up until now, fee invoices were mailed. You’re required to make sure the Bar can contact you by confirming it has your current email and mailing address. You’re also required to “whitelist” or mark as “not spam” the email address

No More Paper Invoices

The following notice is from the State Bar website:

“The State Bar will no longer mail paper invoices for the collection of membership fees and the annual IOLTA certification. Instead, members will receive a postcard reminder to pay and certify online, along with the usual email notifications.

What you can expect to receive from the State Bar:

  • Email notifications
  • Postcard reminder

What is required of you NOW:

  • Maintain a current email and mailing address
  • ‘Whitelist’ or mark as not spam:

What is required of you once you begin receiving the membership fees notifications:

  • Pay and make your IOLTA certification online OR print your membership fees invoice from your online account and submit a check along with the invoice
  • Law firms wishing to make a single payment should print out the invoices for each attorney and mail them in along with a check

If you have questions or concerns, call the State Bar at 919-828-4620 and ask to speak with the membership department.”

8 Facts About Your NC State Bar Fees

  1. What is required to maintain your active Bar membership? Pay the annual membership fees, fulfill the CLE and IOLTA requirements, and comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. If you are a North Carolina resident, you must also maintain membership in the local district bar where you work or reside.
  2. How much are the mandatory annual membership fees? For 2019 the annual fees are $325. This includes the membership dues ($300) and the Client Security Fund assessment ($25). The amount of the dues is established each October by the State Bar Council pursuant to the authority granted to the council by the General Assembly.
  3. When are fees due? The completed invoice and payment are due January 1 but are not considered late if received/postmarked on or before June 30.
  4. What if fees aren’t paid by June 30? You will owe a late fee of $30. Continued failure to pay any part of the membership fees may result in the suspension of your North Carolina law license. If you are suspended, you will have to file a reinstatement petition with the membership department of the State Bar.
  5. What is the Client Security Fund Assessment? The Client Security Fund was established by the North Carolina Supreme Court by order dated August 29, 1984. The fund is administered by a board of trustees appointed by the State Bar Council. Its purpose is to reimburse, in whole or in part in appropriate cases and subject to the provisions and limitations of the Supreme Court’s orders and State Bar rules, clients who have suffered financial loss as a result of dishonest conduct of lawyers engaged in the private practice of law in North Carolina. The amount of the Client Security Fund assessment is set by the North Carolina Supreme Court depending on the needs of the fund.
  6. After I get my license, when will I have to start paying membership fees? Your membership with the State Bar is automatic upon licensure. The membership fees are waived for the calendar year in which you are admitted by exam. You will owe membership fees for the calendar year following the year of your admission to the State Bar and continuously on an annual basis as long as your membership status is “active.”
  7. If I am licensed by comity, when will I have to pay membership fees for the first time? Your membership with the State Bar is automatic upon licensure. You will be invoiced for membership fees for the calendar year in which you are admitted by comity, regardless of when during the year you are admitted. The State Bar is prohibited by law from waiving or prorating the membership fees.

      8. If I am exempt from continuing education requirements, am I also exempt from having to pay membership fees? No. All active members are obligated to pay the annual State Bar membership fees, unless eligible for an exemption per 27 NCAC 1A, Rule .0203.

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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