5 Things to Know About Your State Bar Dues
If you still haven’t gotten around to paying your 2020 NC State Bar dues, there’s still time – but it’s running out.
Perhaps you’ve already paid your annual dues. Congratulations! If not, you’ve been given a reprieve until September 1 before you’re hit with a late fee and a show-cause suspension notice.
“The North Carolina State Bar Council approved for publication an amendment to its rules relating to annual membership fees which would delay the imposition of 2020 late fees by 60 days, to September 1,” according to this notice on the NC State Bar website. “Further, the State Bar will not begin its enforcement of non-payment of dues with notices to show cause and suspension orders (typically begun in August) until after the October meeting of the State Bar Council.”
The change was made to give North Carolina lawyers more time to pay their membership dues without penalty in light of COVID-19’s crippling effect on the profession.
In addition, lawyers are encouraged to pay their dues online. Many State Bar employees are working remotely, and there might be delays in processing physical checks.
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5 Things to Know About Your NC State Bar Dues
- Is membership in the State Bar mandatory? “Y Once you are licensed by the NC Board of Law Examiners, by passing the bar exam or by comity, you automatically become a member of the State Bar. To be entitled to practice North Carolina law, you must be an active member of the State Bar. Also, you must take the oath of office and be sworn in as an attorney before you may begin practicing law.”
- What am I required to do to remain an active member of the NC Bar? “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.”
- How much are the annual membership fees? “For 2020 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 in NCGS §84-34.”
- What is the Client Security Fund Assessment? “The Client Security 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.”
- What’s the best way to contact the State Bar with a question about my dues? “Until further notice, please communicate with the State Bar through email only. Attempts to communicate with the State Bar via United States Mail, UPS, FedEx, telephone, or facsimile may result in substantial delay. Email addresses for departments of the State Bar can be found on our website.”
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, a training and consulting company that helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.