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Bar dues must be paid by Feb. 1 to avoid a late penalty

All California attorneys, active and inactive, must pay their annual State Bar fees by the statutory due date of Feb. 1. If fees are not paid online or postmarked by that date, a late payment charge — $100 for active lawyers and $30 for inactive members — will be assessed.

Members whose last names begin with N-Z (Group 3) also must submit their MCLE compliance cards online or make sure they are postmarked by Feb. 1. Group 3 members who miss that compliance date will be assessed a $75 late compliance fee beginning on Feb. 2.

There is no bank fee for online payments.

Last year, the board of governors voted to enforce the statutory deadline, which led to 90 percent of bar members paying on time. Before last year, only about 70 percent of bar members paid their fees on time, which cost the bar tens of thousands of dollars each year in collection efforts.

Attorneys who miss the Feb. 1 statutory deadline and do not pay their 2008 fees by June 30 will be placed on administrative suspension and will be ineligible to practice. In addition to the $100 late penalty fee, they also will be assessed a $100 reinstatement fee. Those suspended for failure to comply with MCLE requirements will have to pay a $200 reinstatement fee.

The 2008 fee for active lawyers is $400; for inactive lawyers, the annual fee is $115. Attorneys who change their status from active to inactive must file the change form with the bar and pay their dues by Feb. 1 to be eligible for the inactive fee for 2008. The annual fee is waived for inactive lawyers 70 years or older.

Lawyers can deduct $5 for the bar's lobbying activities and $5 for elimination of bias programs. Mem-bers who earn less than $40,000 a year from all sources may qualify for a 25 percent reduction in their fees.

The fee statement also offers the option of joining one or more of the bar's sections as well as making donations to the California Bar Foundation, the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations and the California Supreme Court Historical Society.

This year, members also may donate to the recently created Justice Gap Fund, which will help underwrite eligible legal aid programs in California.

Lawyers in Compliance Group 3 (last names N-Z) must complete 25 hours of continuing education. Up to half the hours may be self-study

through an approved provider and the remainder must be participatory. Four of the hours must be completed in ethics courses, and one hour each is required in elimination of bias and detection and prevention of substance abuse. California Bar Journal self-study tests are available at the bar's Web site,

All attorneys, including those who are exempt, must submit a compliance card. Exempt attorneys include officers and elected officials of the state of California, fulltime professors at law schools accredited by the ABA and/or the State Bar, attorneys and administrative law judges for the federal government and the state.

Complete information about MCLE requirements is available at the Web site by clicking on MCLE in the right-hand menu, by e-mailing or by calling 415-538-2130.

Compliance may be submitted electronically through the My State Bar Profile feature on the bar's Web site,, or by returning the compliance card that was mailed with the annual fee statement.

Attorneys who did not receive a statement or have questions may contact the Member Service Center at 1-888-800-3400 or go to

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