Recent Updates from the State Bar of California

A stack of three leather bound notebooks with a pen and open notebook behind

 

The State Bar of California recently issued a quarterly update to share information about new and updated initiatives happening at the State Bar. We’ve summarized some of these changes to keep you up to date on what California attorneys need to know.

The two-month annual license renewal process starts on December 1, with a final deadline of February 1, 2023. You’ll need to verify your information with the Bar and pay licensing fees.

California Attorney Fees in 2023

In the first week of December, you’ll receive a notice by mail with links to pay your fees through the online My State Bar Profile. Firms and Organizations who pay fees for multiple attorneys will use the Agency Billing Portal.

  • Active licensees: $510
  • Inactive licensees: $177.40
    • Fees are waived for inactive licensees who are over 70 years old by February 1, 2023 
  • There is a fee scaling option for attorneys with a gross income of less than $60,478.35 

 

New Changes to Fees

Electronic payment is the preferred method for the State Bar. 

If you pay via check, you must include a printed personalized fee statement (received by email, or a printed pay-by-mail invoice available in your My State Bar Profile). Checks without that statement will result in a $100 noncompliance fee.

 

Client Trust Account Protection Program – New 2023 Reporting Requirements

All California lawyers must comply with new requirements starting with the 2023 fee cycle. 

For attorneys who have no responsibility for client trust accounts or funds – a certification to that effect is required, then no further action is needed.

If you are responsible for client funds and/or funds entrusted by others, you must: 

  • Report your responsibility to the State Bar
  • Register client trust accounts (including IOLTA accounts) annually with the State Bar (individually or via your firm/organization)
  • Complete an annual self-assessment of client trust account management practices
  • Certify that you understand and comply with all requirements in Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct 

You can find more information here

 

Don’t forget to check your information in the Attorney Census

If you haven’t completed your census in your My State Bar Profile, you can complete it at any time. You can also review and update your information through your profile. 

Items Open for Public Comment

The Board of Trustees circulated several rule proposals for upcoming public comment. 

  • New Civility Pledge – Proposed amendment requiring all licensees and specially admitted attorneys who did not take the attorney oath with the civility language (typically those admitted before 2015) to submit a declaration with the civility pledge by February 1, 2024.  It would also require annual completion of the civility pledge. 
  • Changes to Rules of Professional Conduct – New changes intended to strengthen the duty of civility.
  • MCLE Requirement Changes – add topics to required courses (civility in the legal profession, technology in the practice of law), change the competence requirement from one to two hours, and allow certain mock trial and moot court activities to count for MCLE credit. 

For more details and information, visit the State Bar’s website.

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