Law License Fee Information

Law License Fee Notifications

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About

The Michigan Supreme Court’s rules concerning the State Bar of Michigan, including the rules for license fees, are available here.

If you have any questions or require assistance with the license renewal and payment process, please contact us at sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org or (517) 346-6377.

 

General Questions

How much is my annual license fee?

All Michigan attorneys are required to pay an annual license fee, which consists of payments set by the Michigan Supreme Court to fund the Attorney Discipline Board, the Client Protection Fund, and the general license fee, which funds SBM’s operations. The license fee varies based on status.

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

License fees are not pro-rated. New attorneys joining on or after April 1 of each license year, however, pay half of the annual fee amount.

When is my annual license fee due?

Although the license renewal is due on October 1 each year, MSC rules allow for a two-month grace period to complete the renewal. Therefore, the renewal process must be completed and license fees must be paid by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30 if paid online, or if a check is mailed, the envelope must be postmarked by the post office by November 30. A late payment charge of $50 is automatically added to all unpaid fees on December 1. Michigan Supreme Court rules do not allow for exceptions or extensions of license fee payments, and late fees and reinstatement fees cannot be waived by SBM staff.

Will I be reminded to renew my license?

Beginning in September, SBM will send several reminders about renewing your license to the email address you have on file. To ensure you are receiving SBM emails, add “@michbar.org” to the approved sender list (here are instructions for Outlook and Gmail).

All Michigan attorneys are required to provide the State Bar with an email address that can be used, among other things, for the annual license renewal notification. The Michigan Supreme Court rule requiring a valid email address can be found here. To change the email address you have on file with the State Bar, login at e.michbar.org and click “Profile.”

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

How do I pay my annual license fee?

The license renewal process must be completed online at e.michbar.org. We no longer mail invoices and it is no longer possible to renew your license by mail. If you prefer not to pay online, after you complete the license renewal process online, you have the option to make your payment by mailing a check.

If you require assistance or accommodations for the license renewal process, please contact us at sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org or (517) 346-6377.

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 remotely 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?

  • Pay Online
    • Electronic check (preferred)
    • Visa/Mastercard debit card (preferred)
    • Visa/Mastercard credit card
  • Pay by mail
    • If paying by mail, you still must complete the license renewal process 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.
    • Upon completing the online renewal process, you can print a remittance document to send with your payment to the address on the remittance document. If you don’t have access to a printer, please write your P number in the check memo field.
  • Payments are not accepted any other way, including over the phone.

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 the payment is received and when it is processed. 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 view, print, or save your receipt, log in at e.michbar.org and click "Purchase History," then select "Print Receipt.” If you receive a notification that your receipt is not available online, contact Fee Processing at sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org or (517) 346-6377 to obtain a receipt.

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 attorney who has not paid the license fee. Past due renewals and payments are due no later than 30 days from the date of the letter, or the attorney is 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 outstanding license fees, a late charge of $50 per year, and a one-time $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.

 

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 50 years or longer are not required to pay the SBM portion of the license fee. However, these attorneys are still required to complete the online renewal process. The license fee portions related to Attorney Discipline System and Client Protection Fund are not waived.

Is there a hardship waiver?

There is not a hardship waiver.

 

New Attorney Questions

I submitted my application; do I need to do anything else?

After you’ve been sworn in, you must submit an online new attorney SBM application. Your application is not complete without a copy of the Order of Admission from your swearing-in and payment of the fees. You may email your order of admission to sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org.

When do I get my license number?

Once your SBM application, payment, and Order of Admission have been received and processed, SBM will assign your “P number,” which registers your license to practice law in Michigan. You can expect an email containing your license number within 10 business days after all documents and payment have been received. If you choose to receive a bar card, it will arrive in the mail within 20 business days.

 

Account Questions

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

Yes, all attorneys 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. In addition, they receive access to full SBM benefits including section membership, publications, and services.

Inactive: Inactive attorneys are considered members in good standing, but are not authorized to practice law in Michigan effective October 1 of the license year. 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. If you have already completed your renewal for the current fiscal year and chose inactive status, but wish to return to active status, please complete this form and return as directed on the form. Once we receive the completed form, we will contact you to complete the payment.

 

Section Questions

How do I join or leave a section?

During the license renewal process, you will have the option to select (check) or unselect (uncheck) the section memberships you would like to join or leave. To add a section membership at a later date, login to your account at e.michbar.org, click on “Memberships”, select the sections you would like to join, and complete the payment process.

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 15-20 business days from the date your payment was processed. If you need a temporary bar card, please contact us at sbm-fee-billing@michbar.org.

Are there CLE requirements in Michigan?

There are currently no CLE requirements in Michigan.