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Law License Renewal Information 2022-2023

All attorneys licensed to practice in Michigan must renew their license every year. See the Michigan Supreme Court Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan here.

License renewal for 2022-2023 costs $415 for active attorneys in the state of Michigan. The State Bar of Michigan administers the license renewal process and distributes the funds as directed by the Michigan Supreme Court. Fees paid by Michigan attorneys fund the State Bar of Michigan, the Attorney Discipline System, and the Client Protection Fund. Voluntary contributions and section memberships can add additional fees.

Renew Your License Now buttonThe cost to practice in Michigan is close to the national average, which as of 2021 ranged from $660 in Alaska to $98 in Nebraska. Michigan’s fees are in mid-range of fees paid nationwide.[1] The Michigan Supreme Court approved an increase in license fees this year for both the State Bar of Michigan and the Attorney Discipline System. The increase for the State Bar of Michigan was its first funding adjustment since 2003 and was less than the rate of inflation.

The State Bar of Michigan serves 46,000 attorneys. Its mission is to promote the professionalism of lawyers; advocate for an open, fair, and accessible justice system; and provide services to members to help them best serve clients. Find out more about State Bar of Michigan services here.

Michigan attorneys are notified via email every year to renew their licenses on or before September 20. This page is designed to be a resource for attorneys when renewing their licenses. Click on the topics below to jump to that section.

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How do I renew my license?


Renew Your License Now buttonMichigan attorneys will receive an email on or before September 20, 2022, inviting them to renew their license. Reminders will be sent until license renewal and payment are completed. License renewals are completed online, and fees can be paid online or by mail. Michigan attorneys also have the option of being alerted by text message when it is time for them to renew their license. Simply text sbmlicense to 74121 to sign up for text alerts.

The 2022-2023 Bar year begins October 1, 2022. A late fee will be assessed on all payments not made online or postmarked by the post office on or before November 30, 2022.

2022-2023 License Fee Chart

To renew your license:

  • Login: Go to e.michbar.org (or click on the link in your renewal email) and log in to the SBM Member Portal. Click “Renew Your License Now.” Note: The renewal site will not work with Internet Explorer, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please use a different browser such as Chrome, Edge, or Safari.
  • Contact Information: Michigan attorneys are required to keep current contact information including address, phone number, and email address on file with the State Bar of Michigan. (See Rule 2 of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan)
  • Preferences: You are able to select your preferences for the Michigan Bar Journal, online Member Directory email listing, Bar Card, and receiving information from SBM preferred partners. This section also collects information on occupation/practice.
  • Status: Review your current status with the State Bar of Michigan and receive information on how to change your status, if desired.
  • Mandatory Regulation Disclosures: All licensed attorneys in Michigan are required to annually complete Mandatory Regulation Disclosures, which ask about IOLTA accounts, other licensing jurisdictions, malpractice insurance, and recent criminal convictions.
  • Other: Choose if you wish to receive a Bar Card. Private practice attorneys have the option of identifying an Interim Administrator.
  • Donations: Voluntary contributions can be made to the Justice Fund Statewide Operations, Lawyers & Judges Assistance Program Fund, and the Hall of Justice Learning Center Fund.
  • Sections: Section memberships are typically voluntary, but an excellent resource to stay up to date on practice area information. Some, but not all, sections charge a membership fee.
  • Payment: Your total fee, based on your selections, will be automatically calculated for you. Paying online is recommended because it is faster and easier, but SBM does continue to accept mailed payments (check, money order, or cashier’s check). If paying by mail, please note that you will continue to receive notifications that your renewal is not complete until your payment is received and processed. It can take several weeks for mailed payments to be processed.
    • Pay online with no transaction fee
      • Electronic check
      • Visa or Mastercard debit card
    • Pay online with a 2.5% transaction fee
      • Visa/Mastercard credit card: A 2.5% transaction fee will be assessed on credit card payments. No transaction fee will be assessed if paying by debit card, electronic check, or mail. The fee will be assessed on the mandatory portion of license fee payments only.
    • Pay by mail: You must print your remittance document provided at the end of the online renewal process and send it along with your check, money order, or cashier’s check made payable to the State Bar of Michigan. Include your P number on your payment and mail it to the address provided on your remittance document.
      • If paying by mail, you still must complete the license renewal process online including the mandatory regulation disclosures.
      • It can take several weeks for your payment to be received and processed by the State Bar of Michigan. You will continue to receive reminders that you have not completed the license renewal process until the payment is processed.
      • Any payments not postmarked by the post office on or before November 30, 2022, will be assessed a $50 late fee.
    • If your employer pays your license fees: You are responsible for ensuring your license renewal is completed and will be responsible for any late fees or failure to complete renewal, including payment.
      • If your employer reimburses your costs: Pay your fees online or by mail as explained above. You can view, print, or save a receipt by logging in at e.michbar.org. Select “Purchase History” and then “Print Receipt.” If a receipt is not available online, please email SBMfinance@michbar.org for assistance.
      • If your employer chose to participate in SBM’s new Consolidated Billing program: You simply need to complete your online renewal. Work directly with your employer to determine if they will pay all or part of your license renewal selections, including section memberships and donations. Read more about Consolidated Billing.
      • If your employer pays your fee but is not enrolled in the Consolidated Billing program: Print your remittance document and submit it to the appropriate personnel in your organization for payment.

To see if your payment has been processed, log in at e.michbar.org and click on “Purchase History.” Online payments will be processed immediately but can be reversed if the payment is later rejected (e.g., insufficient funds or incorrect account number). Mailed payments can take several weeks to process due to mail delivery delays and manual processing time. SBM cannot confirm receipt of payment until it has been processed. If you paid online and did not receive a receipt, email SBMfinance@michbar.org or call (517) 346-6377 for assistance.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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Why is my license fee more?


For a full breakdown of the license fees paid by attorneys for all statuses, see the 2022-2023 License Fees chart.

The Michigan Supreme Court approved fee increases that take effect this year to fund the operations of both the State Bar of Michigan and the Attorney Discipline System. Attorney license fees also fund the Client Protection Fund. Your fee could also be impacted by section memberships, voluntary contributions, and paying with a credit card. Read more about these potential fees under the “How Do I Renew My License?” header on this page.

This year marks the first funding increase for the State Bar of Michigan since 2003. The State Bar of Michigan administers licensing for all Michigan attorneys; promotes the professionalism of lawyers; advocates for an open, fair, and accessible justice system; and provides services to members to help them best serve clients. Finances of the State Bar of Michigan are determined by members elected to the SBM Board of Commissioners by other Michigan attorneys. Spending is determined based on a Strategic Plan that identifies four primary goals and 20 strategies to achieve these goals:

  • Provide resources to help all members achieve professional excellence and success in the practice of law and in service to the public.
  • Champion access to justice and build public trust and confidence in the justice system in Michigan.
  • Maintain the highest conduct among members, and initiate and advocate for improvements that facilitate accessible, timely justice for the public.
  • Achieve strategic goals in a responsive and cost-efficient manner.

The State Bar of Michigan serves all 46,000 Michigan attorneys. Read more about some of the ways we can help.

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Consolidated Billing


The State Bar of Michigan this year launched a pilot program to facilitate payment of license fees for multiple attorneys for firms and other employers. The improved service allows firms/employers to easily pay their attorneys’ license fees by automating the tracking, calculation, and processing of renewal payments. Sign-up has closed for the 2022-2023 Bar year, but if your organization is interested in participating in the future, please contact SBMfinance@michbar.org or call (517) 346-6307.

If your organization is paying your license fees and is not participating in the Consolidated Billing program, they still can pay multiple attorneys’ license renewal fees at the same time — but they must include a copy of each attorney’s remittance document (generated during online renewal) with their payment.

 

License Renewal Frequently Asked 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, 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.

 

How do I get help with my license renewal?

Please first review all of our frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered there or if you need accommodations, please email SBMfinance@michbar.org or call (517) 346-6377 for assistance.

 

What is the license renewal deadline?

Although all licenses should be renewed by the start of the new Bar year on October 1 of each year, Michigan Supreme Court rules allow for a two-month grace period for Michigan attorneys to complete their license renewals. The deadline for license renewal, including fee payment, is 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30. If you mail your fee payment, it must be postmarked by the post office on or before 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, and late fees and reinstatement fees cannot be waived by State Bar of Michigan staff.

 

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.

 

How do I know when it is time for me to renew my license?

The State Bar of Michigan will send an email and multiple reminders (until license renewal is complete) to the email address you have on file in September. To ensure you are receiving SBM emails, add “@michbar.org” to the approved sender list. (Here are instructions for Outlook and Gmail).

Michigan attorneys are required to keep current contact information including address, phone number, and email address on file with the State Bar of Michigan. (See Rule 2 of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan) To change the email address you have on file with the State Bar, login at e.michbar.org and click “Profile.”

You also have the option of receiving text messages to remind you about your license renewal. To opt-in to this service, text sbmlicense to 74121.

 

When will I receive my Bar Card?

If you chose to receive a Bar Card as one of your Preferences in the license renewal process, you can expect to receive your Bar Card within 30 days (after October 1) after you complete your license renewal.

If you need a temporary Bar Card, please email SBMfinance@michbar.org for assistance.

 

Can I receive my Bar Card and other mailings at my home instead of my office?

You can add a secondary mailing 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 is recommended for attorneys who are working remotely.

 

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

If you don’t complete the license renewal process, you will lose your authorization to practice law in Michigan.

Attorneys who do not complete their license renewal are mailed a pre-suspension letter in January. If license renewal and fee payment are not completed within 30 days, 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 have been suspended for less than three years and are not subject to a disciplinary order can be reinstated after payment of all outstanding license and late fees as well as a one-time $100 reinstatement fee. Attorneys who have been suspended for more than three years must 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.

 

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.

 

What are Mandatory Regulation Disclosures and why are they required?

The Michigan Supreme Court requires all attorneys to annually complete Mandatory Regulation Disclosures on topics including IOLTA and Non-IOLTA funds, additional legal licenses, malpractice insurance, and criminal convictions.

 

Why is it asking if I have an Interim Administrator?

This is an optional question included as part of the 2022-2023 license renewal. The question is being asked to encourage attorneys to develop succession plans if they have not already done so. The Michigan Supreme Court issued an order in June 2022 (see ADM File No. 2020-15) adding to and amending the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan and Michigan Court Rules to establish Michigan’s Interim Administrator Program. Under the new rules, beginning next year (in the 2023-2024 Bar year), private practice attorneys will be required to name:

  • an Interim Administrator, who can temporarily manage your practice if you become unexpectedly unable to practice law, and
  • a Person with Knowledge, who knows the location of and has access to your professional paper and electronic files and records.

Your interim administrator can be your law firm, if your firm consists of at least two attorneys, or another attorney. Interim Administrators are entitled to compensation as they wind down or temporarily manage a practice.

 

What forms of payment are accepted?

Payments are accepted online with electronic check, debit card, and credit card as well as by mail with check, money order, or cashier’s check. Payments are not accepted over the phone. Read more under the “How Do I Renew My License?” header on this page.

 

How can I confirm my payment and/or get a receipt?

Go to the State Bar of Michigan Member Portal at e.michbar.org and log in. Click on “Purchase History.” Select “Print Receipt” to view, print, or save your receipt.

Online payments will be processed immediately but can be reversed if the payment is later rejected (e.g., insufficient funds or incorrect account number). Mailed payments may take several weeks to process due to delivery delays and manual processing time. SBM cannot confirm receipt of payment until it has been processed. You will continue to receive reminders that you have not completed the license renewal process until the payment is processed.

If you paid online and did not receive a receipt or if you receive a notification that your receipt is not available online, please email SBMfinance@michbar.org or call (517) 346-6377 for assistance.

 

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 can receive a refund.

 

Can I pay in installments?

No. Payment in full is required.

 

Does the State Bar of Michigan offer 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. It must be requested each fiscal year. You can find more information, and make a request for a military waiver, here.

 

Can longtime members of the State Bar of Michigan receive an exemption from license fees?

Attorneys who have been members of the State Bar of Michigan for 50 years or longer are not required to pay the SBM portion of the license fee. However, those 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. The fee reduction will be automatically reflected when you complete the license renewal process.

 

Does the State Bar of Michigan offer a hardship waiver for license fees?

There is not a hardship waiver.

 

What if I changed my name?

If you have changed your name, you need to complete a Name Change Request form and submit it according to the instructions on the form.

 

I am a new attorney and 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 newattorney@michbar.org.

 

When do new attorneys get a license number?

Once the State Bar of Michigan 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 in about 30 business days.

 

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:

  • Log in to your account at e.michbar.org
  • Click on “Memberships”
  • Select the section(s) you would like to join
  • 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.

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[1] Michigan’s $415 license fee for 2023 would rank 21st in the nation based on the cost to practice in 2021, the most recent year available, according to the 2021 State and Local Bar Benchmarks Survey by the American Bar Association.