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Attorneys must provide e-mail address to the bar by Feb. 1

All California attorneys must provide an e-mail address to the State Bar beginning Feb. 1 under a new rule of court approved by the Supreme Court. Inactive lawyers over 70 are exempt from the new requirement.

Under Rule 9.7, members of the State Bar must create an online profile through the bar’s secure membership system. Currently, about 160,000 lawyers already have done so and they need do nothing further.

But on Feb. 1, attorneys who move will be able to change their address and phone number only through My State Bar Profile. Online address change capability has been available for several years and is widely used. By early December 2009, 50,445 address changes were processed, more than 38,000 online.

Lawyers are statutorily required to keep their addresses updated within 30 days of a move. Under the new rule, all address changes must be completed electronically, through My State Bar Profile.

To provide an e-mail address, log on to My State Bar Profile at Returning and new members should follow the prompts in order to provide an e-mail address.

The private e-mails will be recorded in the bar’s database and will be used only for official communications, such as courtesy reminders related to deadlines and updates of new regulations that affect members. Attorneys also will have the option to provide a public e-mail address, which will be available to the public on the bar’s Web site.

Notification of disciplinary or regulatory proceedings that may lead to a loss of license will continue to be sent through regular mail.

In addition to the 160,000 private e-mails the bar now has, another 30,000 lawyers have provided a public address. About 34,000 lawyers have not provided an e-mail address.

Although not required by the rule, the bar’s administrative policy will provide an exemption to inactive lawyers over 70. In addition, lawyers who do not have an e-mail address may apply for an exemption by completing a form provided by the bar.

All attorneys with an e-mail address on file with the bar received an electronic notice of the new rule in early December.

Questions about the new requirement may be addressed to the Member Services Center at 1-888-800-3400.