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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Dues are due March 1 after fee bill signed

The State Bar sent bills last month to more than 220,000 California attorneys for 2010 dues after Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a measure authorizing collection of fees. Dues must be paid by March 1.

Bar dues for active lawyers are $410 and inactive lawyers owe $125.

“We are grateful to the governor for signing the State Bar 2010 fee bill. He has helped us to focus on issues and matters that are important to the State Bar,” said President Howard Miller. “We also want to thank the legislative leadership that has been so supportive and forthcoming. This entire period has strengthened the State Bar and given us important missions and goals that we now can actively achieve.”

Although the bar had postponed the deadline for dues payment, it left in place the Feb. 1 deadline for MCLE compliance for members of Group 1 — those whose last names begin with A-G. Noncompliance will result in a $75 penalty.

When the legislature reconvened Jan. 4, SB 55 was introduced as an urgency measure and passed both houses unanimously.

In his signing statement, the governor wrote, “Last year I vetoed Senate Bill 641, the State Bar’s annual dues bill, over concerns about management of the State Bar. I am pleased that the State Bar has taken these concerns seriously and has taken commendable steps to address these problems.

“Consequently, I am reinstating the State Bar’s authority to collect dues from its members by signing this measure. I urge the State Bar to continue its efforts and look forward to evaluating its progress when next year’s dues bill comes to my desk.”

The fee for active lawyers includes $40 for the Client Security Fund, $25 for discipline, $10 for the Lawyer Assistance Program, $10 for the building fund and a $10 assessment for technology. The remainder, $315, supports the general fund.

The inactive fee includes $75 for the general fund, $10 for both the Client Security Fund and the building fund, $25 for discipline and $5 for the LAP. The fee is waived for inactive lawyers over 70.

Failure to pay dues by the deadline will trigger a $100 late payment penalty for active lawyers and a $35 penalty for inactive attorneys.

Lawyers also will have the opportunity to donate to the Justice Gap Fund (recommended donation $100), the California Bar Foundation ($50 recommended donation), the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations (CDCBA — $35 recommended donation) and the California Supreme Court Historical Society (CSCHS — a $25 donation is recommended).

Active lawyers with qualifying income levels are eligible for a 25 percent reduction in the membership fee. To qualify, a lawyer must declare a total gross annual individual income from all sources of less than $40,000 in 2009.

Dues can be paid online by logging on to and signing in to the My State Bar Profile feature in the left menu.

Although the earlier dues bill won passage in both houses of the legislature by wide margins, Schwarzenegger said he would not sign it because the bar “cannot continue with business as usual.” In particular, he criticized the agency for a state audit that found inefficiencies in the discipline operation, the embezzlement of $676,000 by a former employee and the unauthorized disclosure of the rating of a candidate for the appellate bench.

The bar board hired a Sacramento auditing firm to conduct ongoing internal audits and Miller appointed a committee to investigate the leak. It was unable to determine its source.

Information about bar dues and MCLE compliance is available by calling the Member Services Center at 1-888-800-3400.