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5,000-plus lawyers may lose their bar cards

More than 5,000 California lawyers face the possible loss of their license to practice as a result of not complying with continuing education requirements or not paying their bar dues. As of last month, 3,599 lawyers had not paid their dues and another 2,295 had not completed MCLE requirements.

The last day to avoid being placed on not entitled status is Sept. 15; the suspensions will take effect Sept. 16.

The MCLE scofflaws belong to Group 1 (last names begin with A-G), whose compliance deadline was Feb. 1, 2004. Those who have not complied represent about 4.5 percent of the total group.

People who have not complied will receive a fifth notice this month.

Those who have not paid their dues, most of whom are active lawyers, have received three notices of non-payment.

Typically, the bar suspends between 800-1,000 lawyers every year for non-payment of dues and several hundred for MCLE non-compliance.

“This is not like missing a utility bill payment,” said bar President Tony Capozzi. “Attorneys who don’t pay their dues or comply with MCLE are suspended, and that carries potentially serious consequences.”

Suspension becomes a permanent part of a member’s record. The information is available on the Web site.

Attorneys with questions about MCLE compliance may call 415-538-2155 or e-mail mcle@calbar.ca.gov, and those with questions about dues may call 415-538-2360 or e-mail billing@calbar.ca.gov.

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