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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Dues were due March 1; penalty postponed

California lawyers were required to pay their State Bar dues by March 1, but a board of governors committee voted last month that penalties for nonpayment would not attach until March 31. Penalties for noncompliance with MCLE requirements also will not take effect until the same date.

After vetoing the bar’s fee bill in October, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a later bill in January, authorizing collection of the same fees — $410 for active lawyers and $125 for inactive members.

The dues payment deadline was moved from Feb. 1 to March 1. At the same time, the MCLE compliance deadline for members of Group 1 — those whose last names begin with A-G — remained Feb. 1.

However, due to confusion over the deadlines and the late mailing of bills, the board decided to offer a grace period — through March 30 — before assessing any penalties.

Active attorneys who have not paid their fees by March 30 will be penalized $100 and inactive lawyers who pay late will owe an additional $30. Those who miss the MCLE deadline will be penalized $75.

Failure to pay dues or comply with continuing education requirements can result in suspension from practice.

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.

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.

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