Bar fee statements are on the way

first_img May 15, 2004 Managing Editor Regular News Bar fee statements are on the way Bar fee statements are on the waycenter_img Members asked to support ‘Lawyers’ Challenge for Children’ Mark D. Killian Managing Editor Florida Bar members soon will receive their 2004-05 fee statements, reflecting no increase in annual fees and only minor modifications to the form.The fees are payable July 1 and are late after August 15, according to Bar Finance Director Allen Martin.Members will receive one of two fee statements: one designed for active members and another for those who have elected inactive status. Annual fees are $265. Inactive members pay $175. Challenge for Children Members also have an option to make a voluntary $45 contribution to The Florida Bar Foundation’s Lawyers’ Challenge for Children campaign to help bring the benefits of the law and of lawyers to the lives of poor children. The Foundation will dedicate Bar members’ contributions to legal assistance to children through grants to legal aid and legal services programs across the state, according to Bar President-elect Kelly Overstreet Johnson.Last year, Florida lawyers contributed more than $187,548 to the Challenge for Children campaign.“Let me tell you about just one of the many children helped through the Lawyers’ Challenge for Children,” Johnson said. “Sam is a 12-year-old and has never learned to read or write. Sam’s parents were dismayed that even after several years of special education, he had made little progress and school officials had refused to re-evaluate his needs and provide him appropriate services.”Johnson said with the help of legal aid, Sam is finally receiving the appropriate services and is learning to read and write at a new school.“Because we have helped the Foundation provide greater support to children’s legal services, children like Sam can reach their potential,” Johnson said. “Our gifts of at least $45 to The Florida Bar Founda-tion on the fee statement will help extend the reach of children’s legal services funding.” Online Payment Members have the option to complete their annual fee statement and pay their fees online via the Bar’s Web site at www.flabar.org.“Members should be aware that the fee statements are two-sided and must be completed both front and back and be mailed along with their payment to cover their fees and sections joined,” Martin said.Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, fees postmarked after August 16 will be assessed a $50 late fee. Members who do not pay by September 30 will be deemed delinquent. The delinquency may be cleared by petitioning the Bar, paying the fees, the late fee, and a $150 reinstatement fee.Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, members delinquent for five years will lose their Bar membership on October 1. To be reinstated, those members must meet all the requirements of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Pro Bono Reports This year’s fee form again includes a pro bono section for Bar members to report if they have met the Supreme Court’s aspirational pro bono goals. The court asks lawyers to provide 20 hours of pro bono service or donate $350 to a legal aid program each year.A series of questions promulgated by the court appears on the fee statement, depending on what option the attorney selected. The court wants to know:• How many hours of pro bono service the lawyer donated and if the work was done through an organized legal aid program or on the lawyer’s own.• If the lawyer’s firm provided pro bono collectively under a plan operated by a circuit pro bono committee, with an indication of how much was allocated to the member.• If the lawyer has contributed to a legal aid organization in lieu of performing pro bono work.• Whether the attorney was unable to provide pro bono service or met the provision for being deferred.• How the lawyer fulfilled his or her service if done in some manner not specifically envisioned by the plan. Community Service This year’s fee statement again features a purely voluntary section that allows members to report the community and public service they have performed over the past year. The purpose is to obtain data to show contributions lawyers make by way of community service. Lawyers may voluntarily report whether they have provided service to the legal community, religious organizations, civic organizations, or other charities and how many hours they donated.The community service questions are separate from the court’s pro bono reporting requirements, and answering these questions does not constitute compliance with the required pro bono responses. Trust Accounting The statement also requires that all lawyers indicate whether they comply with the Bar’s trust accounting requirements and the interest on trust accounts rule.answering the trust accounting question, members certify they comply with Bar rules that mandate, “All nominal and short-term funds belonging to clients or third persons which are placed in trust with any member of The Florida Bar practicing from an office or other business location within the state of Florida shall be deposited in one or more interest-bearing trust checking accounts in an eligible financial institution for the benefit of the Foundation.”The Florida Bar Foundation may be contacted at (800) 541-2195 (for in-state members only) or (407) 843-0045 to answer IOTA questions. Installments Members who meet eligibility requirements may pay their annual fees in three equal installments. The first payment must be postmarked by August 16. To be eligible, members must be in the second or third year since admission to the Bar or be employed by a government agency in a nonelected position that requires the individual to maintain membership in good standing with the Bar. Only annual fees or prorated fees may be paid in installments. Section dues must be paid in full.The three payments must be postmarked by August 16, November 1, and February 1, 2005. The Bar will send statements for the second and third installments. A $50 late fee will be assessed if any payment is received late. For more information on paying in installments, see Rule 1-7.3(c). Other Options Bar members also may join sections and the Out-of-State Practitioners Division using the fee form. The attorney’s current membership in a section is indicated on the form. To join other sections, members may darken the circles next to the section they want to join and include the appropriate amount with their membership fees.The fee statement provides lawyers the opportunity to reduce their section dues by joining combinations of the Government Lawyer Section with the Administrative Law Section and/or the Criminal Law Section or the Administrative Law Section and the Criminal Law Section.Members may opt for inactive membership by marking the inactive status proclamation located near the bottom of the front page of the active membership statement and paying their fees by a postmark date of August 16. Active members may not elect inactive status online.Those who chose inactive status on last year’s statement will receive an inactive membership fee statement this year. It has many of the same features as the active membership fee statement, but does not allow the inactive member to join sections. Inactive members, however, can become affiliate members of the Out-of-State Practitioners Division or the Administrative Law, Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, Environmental and Land Use Law, and Tax sections.choosing inactive status, Bar members will reduce their annual fees by $90 and get automatic exemptions from continuing legal education requirements. They will, however, also give up a number of privileges, including the privilege to practice or advise on Florida law or hold a job that requires a Florida law license; to participate in the Bar’s certification program; to vote in Bar elections or be counted for purposes of apportionment of the Board of Governors; and to receive Bar publications, including the Journal and annual directory. Inactive members continue to receive The Florida Bar News. Inactive members who wish to become active again must call the Bar’s Membership Records Department at (850) 561-5832 or (800) 561-8060, ext. 5832.last_img

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