Member Services Orientation Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What do I do after being sworn in?
A. After being sworn in, you must join the State Bar of Michigan by submitting a membership application, your original order of admission, and the current year’s license fee.
Q. What other statuses are available?
A. Emeritus Status—For members 70 years of age or over 30 years of membership in the State Bar of Michigan. Not eligible to practice law. This is a voluntary status, but it is intended to be permanent so emeritus members wishing to reactivate their status must re-take and pass the Michigan Bar exam.
Resigned/Withdrawn—Members who do not qualify for emeritus status but do not want to have a fee obligation to the State Bar of Michigan can choose to resign their membership—this is a voluntary status. After resignation is received, they are no longer considered to be members of the State Bar of Michigan, and are no longer eligible to practice law in Michigan. Members who have resigned must re-take and pass the Michigan Bar exam if they wish to reactivate their membership.
Suspended for Non-Payment of Licensing Fee, Disciplinary Suspension, Revocation—These are non-voluntary statuses that members may be placed on. Members who are suspended or who have had their licenses revoked are no longer eligible to practice law in Michigan.
Q. When will I be billed for licensing fees after the first year?
A. The fiscal year for the State Bar of Michigan is October 1 through September 30. Every State Bar member's licensing fee notice is sent before September 20, to your email address of record, for the next Bar year beginning October 1.
Q. What if I don't pay my fee?
A. Members who do not pay their licensing fee will be suspended for non-payment and will be ineligible to practice law in Michigan. A certified letter of delinquency is mailed each year to members who fail to pay their fees by November 30. The member’s name is included on a list of attorneys suspended for non-payment of licensing fees that is disseminated to the courts of Michigan, Attorney Grievance Commission, Attorney Discipline Board, clerk of the Supreme Court, and published in the Michigan Bar Journal and on the Bar's website. If the member is not subject to a disciplinary order and the suspension is for less than three years, the member is automatically reinstated upon the payment of licensing fees and late charges owing from the date of suspension to the date of reinstatement plus a reinstatement fee.
Q. How long can I remain on inactive status or suspended?
A. A member who is suspended or remains on inactive status for three years or more, must apply for recertification with the Board of Law Examiners. More detailed information can be found in Supreme Court rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan published in the April directory issue of the Michigan Bar Journal.
Q. What is the Client Protection Fund?
A. The State Bar of Michigan's Client Protection Fund was established in 1966 for the purpose of reimbursing clients who have been victimized by the few attorneys who misappropriate funds entrusted to them. The goal of the fund is to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession by compensating those who have been victimized by dishonest lawyers. The Client Protection Fund is not a substitute for malpractice insurance; it only reimburses the willful taking of a client's money or property with an intent to defraud within the scope of an attorney-client relationship.
Q. Why does Michigan have an assessment for the Client Protection Fund?
A. The 1999 Conference of Chief Justices National Action Plan on Lawyer Conduct and Professionalism recommended that all client protection funds create a structure to ensure a stable source of funds and to make full reimbursement of client claims the goal of each state's fund. To that end, in 2003 the funding for the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection Fund changed to an assessment-based program bringing it in line with the majority of other states fulfilling the recommendation of the conference. Prior to this change, Michigan was one of only fifteen states that financed the Client Protection Fund through a line item budget appropriation from the Bar's general budget with the last appropriation in 1998.
Q. How can I access the Client Protection Fund rules?
A. The rules are available on the Client Protection Fund web page.
Q. How can I get an application for the Client Protection Fund?
A. View the Claim Application online or call the Client Protection Fund administrator at (517) 346-6379 to request an application.
Q. What is an address of record?
A. It is the address that you provide to us where you can be reached. If you use a P.O. Box, you must also submit another physical address.
Q. What happens if I move out of state or no longer wish to practice law in Michigan?
A. You can request, in writing, to go on inactive status as long as you are not subject to any disciplinary action in any jurisdiction.
Q. How do I change my name?
A. The request must be in writing along with a copy of the marriage license, divorce decree, social security card, or driver's license. Please include the exact way you would like your name to read.
Q. How do I change my address?
A. In order to safeguard your member information, changes to your member record must be provided in writing. Members may update their own member record in the Member Area or by using the Address Change Form.
Q. How can I get a Certificate of Good Standing?
A. All members looking for a certificate of good standing from the State Bar of Michigan must submit their order online to pay by credit/debit card or by paper form for checks. The cost is $15 per certificate. Other options may have additional charges and will be noted. More Information
Q. How do I request a certified copy of my bar application?
A. The fee for this service is $25. Use this form or call (888) SBM-For-U (888-726-3678) for information about obtaining a copy of your Affidavit of Personal History.
Q. How do I remove my name from promotional mailings?
A. You can update your preferences in the Contact Information & Preferences Form
Q. How can I get a replacement Bar card?
A. Requests must be made in writing either by fax or by mail. Call (888) SBM-For-U (888-726-3678) for more information about replacing your bar card.
For additional information, please call a Member Services representative at (888) SBM-For-U (888-726-3678).