Law License Fee Information

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About

You can read the Michigan Supreme Court’s rules concerning the State Bar of Michigan, including the rules for license fees, here .

 

Important Dates

Notifications about the next license renewal period will be emailed before September 20, 2020.

Fees must be paid online by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30, 2020, or if mailed, postmarked by November 30, 2020, to avoid a late payment charge of $50.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

How much is my annual license fee?

Michigan attorneys are required to pay an annual license fee, which consists of three separate amounts set by the Michigan Supreme Court to fund the Attorney Grievance Commission and the Attorney Discipline Board, the client security fund administered by the State Bar, and other State Bar expenses. Use the chart below to determine your total fee for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Portion   Active Active: 50+ years of membership    Inactive Inactive: 50 or more years of membership
Attorney Discipline System $120 $120     $120.00     $120.00
Client Protection Fund   $15  $15        $7.50         $7.50
State Bar of Michigan $180    $0           $90              $0
TOTALS $315 $135    $217.50       $127.50

When is my annual license fee due?

Fees must be paid online by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30, 2020, or if mailed, postmarked by November 30, 2020, to avoid a late payment charge of $50.

How do I pay my annual license fee?

The license renewal process must be completed online at e.michbar.org. It is no longer possible to renew your license by mail. You can, however, pay by mailing a check if you prefer not to pay online.

Can I receive my bar card and other mailings at my home instead of my office?

You will have the option to add a secondary address during the license renewal process. This allows you to receive your bar card, section mailings, the Michigan Bar Journal, and other official notifications at a different address than your primary address (Note: This option is recommended for people working from home due to the pandemic).

Who can I contact if I have questions about my fee?

If you have questions about your fees, please email sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org or call (517) 346-6377.

 

Payment Questions

What forms of payment are accepted?

  • Online payment options
    • Electronic check/ACH payment (preferred)
    • Visa/Mastercard debit card (preferred)
    • Visa/Mastercard credit card
  • Pay by mail
    • License renewal still must be completed online.
    • At the end of the online process, you will be given an option to pay by mailing a check, money order, or cashier's check payable to the State Bar of Michigan.
    • There is a form to print out and send with your payment, but if you don’t have access to a printer, you can write your P number in the check memo.
  • Payments are not accepted any other way, including over the phone.

What if I do not have access to a printer?

If you wish to pay by mail and do not have access to a printer, you can mail a check (see above) without your remittance form. Write your P number in the check memo.

How can I check if the State Bar processed my payment?

To see if your payment has been processed, log in at e.michbar.org and click on “Purchase History.” It may take a few days between the time we receive payment and we process the payment on our records. We cannot confirm receipt until your payment has been processed. If you paid online and did not receive a receipt, contact Fee Processing at sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org or (517) 346-6377.

How do I obtain a receipt for my payment?

To print or save the receipt for your license fee payment, log in at e.michbar.org and click on “Purchase History.” If your fees are paid, you will see the option to click on “Print Receipt.” If you paid but do not see the option to print, contact Fee Processing at sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org or (517) 346-6377.

Are license fees refundable?

License fees are not refundable once the new fiscal year begins. However, if you paid your license fee before October 1 and request a refund in writing before that date, you will receive a refund.

Can I pay in installments?

No, payment in full is required.

What happens if I don’t pay my license fee?

If you don’t complete the license renewal process, you will lose your authorization to practice law in Michigan. Each January, the State Bar of Michigan mails a letter to every member who has not paid the license fee. Members have 30 days from the date of the letter to submit payment, or they are suspended and no longer authorized to practice law in Michigan. A list of attorneys suspended for nonpayment of fees is posted online and disseminated to Michigan courts, the Attorney Grievance Commission, the Attorney Discipline Board, and the clerk of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Attorneys who are not subject to a disciplinary order and have been suspended for less than three years will be reinstated upon payment of all fees, late charges, and a $100 reinstatement fee. Attorneys who have been suspended for more than three years must also apply for recertification under Rule 8 for the Board of Law Examiners. The Board of Law Examiners’ request for recertification form is available here . Contact the Board of Law Examiners at ble-info@courts.mi.gov or (517) 373-4453 for more information.

Attorneys suspended for nonpayment of fees, if eligible, may resign or choose emeritus status (see status descriptions below). They would have to pay back fees, late charges, and a reinstatement fee, however, if they change their mind and are readmitted by recertification by the Board of Law Examiners.

 

Waiver & Exemption Questions

Is there a military waiver?

Attorneys in good standing with the State Bar of Michigan (active or inactive) who are serving in the United States Armed Forces in full-time active-duty status, as defined by the United States Department of Defense, are eligible for a waiver of payment of fees. The waiver may be granted up to four times, though separate requests are required each fiscal year. You can find more information, and make a request for a military waiver, here.

Is there an exemption for years of membership?

Attorneys who have belonged to the State Bar of Michigan for fifty years or longer are not required to pay the State Bar of Michigan portion of the license fee.

Is there a hardship waiver?

There is not a hardship waiver.

 

Account Questions

Do I need a password or login to pay my fees online?

Yes, all members and affiliates have a username and password. You can reset your password here if needed.

I am having a problem accessing my account online. What should I do?

If you have a login problem that can’t be addressed by resetting your password (see above), please email sbmloginhelp@michbar.org. Or, if you already have an email on record, email pwreset@michbar.org and we will send a new password to the email we have on file.

Can my assistant handle my license renewal?

You are responsible for the security of your account and are advised not to share your login credentials.

 

Status Change Questions

What status options are available?

Active: Active attorneys are authorized to practice law in Michigan and have the option to receive a bar card, which facilitates access to Michigan courts and jails.

Inactive: Inactive attorneys are considered members in good standing, but are not authorized to practice law in Michigan effective October 1. They do not have the option to receive a bar card, but they do have access to all other State Bar of Michigan benefits, including section membership. To qualify for inactive status, attorneys must not have practiced law in Michigan since September 30 of the previous fiscal year. Attorneys who choose inactive status for three or more years must be recertified by the Board of Law Examiners before returning to active status and may be required to retake the Michigan bar exam and undergo the character and fitness process.

Emeritus: Emeritus attorneys are no longer authorized to practice law or receive referral fees in Michigan. They do not have the option to receive a bar card, but they do have access to all other State Bar of Michigan benefits, including section membership. Emeritus attorneys do not pay license fees. To qualify for emeritus status, attorneys must have been a member of the State Bar of Michigan for at least 30 years or be at least 70 years old. They must also not be subject to pending disciplinary action in any jurisdiction. Qualified attorneys who choose emeritus status must retake the Michigan bar exam to return to active status unless they are eligible for admission under Board of Law Examiners Rules 5(A) or 8.

Resigned: Resigned attorneys are no longer authorized to practice law or receive referral fees in Michigan. They do not have the option to receive a bar card, nor do they have access to any other State Bar of Michigan benefits. Resigned attorneys do not pay license fees. Attorneys who are not subject to pending disciplinary action in any jurisdiction may resign from membership. To be readmitted as an active member, an attorney who has resigned must retake the Michigan bar exam to return to active status unless they are eligible for admission under Board of Law Examiners Rules 5(A) or 8.

How do I change my status?

You'll be asked if you want to change your status near the beginning of the license renewal process.

 

Section Questions

How do I join or leave a section?

You'll be asked if you want to join or leave sections during the license renewal process. You can also join a section any time at e.michbar.org.

Are section membership fees refundable?

Refunds of section membership fees are made at the discretion of the section and must be approved by the section chair.

How do I join the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section?

Complete this application if you would like to become an affiliate member of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section. Your application must be approved by the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section.

How do I join the Law Practice Management & Legal Administrators Section?

Complete this application if you would like to become an affiliate member of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Law Practice Management & Legal Administrators Section. Your application must be approved by the State Bar of Michigan.

How do I join the Law Student Section?

Complete this application if you would like to become an affiliate member of the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Law Student Section. Your application must be approved by the State Bar of Michigan.

 

Other Questions

I paid my fees but have not received my bar card. When will I receive it?

Bar cards are issued every business day from October 1 through December 31; after December 31, they are issued less frequently. If you opted to receive a bar card, please allow 14 business days from the date your payment was processed.

Are there CLE requirements in Michigan?

There are not CLE requirements in Michigan.

Can I sign up for text alerts?

You can sign up to receive text message reminders about the license renewal process by texting “licensefee” to 74121.