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 dues.
Q. What is the cost of the dues for Active Members?
A. Active members sworn in between October 1 and March 31 are required to submit $285 for the current fiscal year ending September 30. The $285 includes dues for the Attorney Discipline System ($90), State Bar of Michigan ($180), and Client Protection Fund ($15). Active members sworn in between April 1 and September 30 are required to submit $142.50 for the remainder of the current fiscal year ending September 30 (one half of a full year's dues).
Q. What is the cost of the dues for Inactive Members?
A. Under the new Supreme Court Order, members sworn in between October 1 and March 31 and choose Inactive member status are required to submit $187.50 for the current fiscal year ending September 30. The $187.50 includes dues for the Attorney Discipline System ($90), State Bar of Michigan ($90) and Client Protection Fund ($7.50). Inactive members sworn in between April 1 and September 30 are required to submit $93.75 for the remainder of the current fiscal year ending September 30 (one half of a full year's dues). Inactive members may not practice law in the State of Michigan while on this status. An inactive member for over 3 years must be recertified by the Board of Law Examiners and may be required to take the Bar exam again.
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Resigned/Withdrawn—Members who do not qualify for emeritus status but do not want to have a dues obligation to the State Bar of Michigan can choose to resign their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 dues, 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 dues after the first year?
A. The fiscal year for the State Bar of Michigan is October 1 through September 30. Every State Bar member is billed each year on or before September 20, to your address of record, for the next Bar year beginning October 1.
Q. What if I don't pay my dues?
A. Members who do not pay their dues will be suspended for non-payment and will be ineligible to practice law in Michigan. A certified letter of delinquency is mailed each year members who fail to pay their dues by November 30. The member’s name is included on a list of attorneys suspended for non-payment of dues that is disseminated the courts of Michigan, the Attorney Grievance Commission, the Attorney Discipline Board, the 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 dues 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's 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, which will be kept confidential if requested.
Q. What happens if I move out of state and/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 using the online, Member Area tool or by using the Address Change Form.
Q. How can I order different publications or additional directories?
A. Orders must be in writing and must be prepaid. A 6% Michigan sales tax is added to all orders except directory orders.
Q. When is the directory issue of the Michigan Bar Journal published?
A. The directory issue is mailed mid to late April of each year. It can take up to four weeks to be delivered because it is mailed fourth class.
Q. Does the State Bar of Michigan have an online Member Directory?
A. Yes, the Member Directory is available online.
Q. Where can I find the publication order form?
A. You can request a publication order form be faxed to you by calling (888) SBM-For-U (888-726-3678), or download a Publication Order Form.
Q. Do you accept purchase orders?
Q. What do I do if I don't receive the directory, or it is damaged or missing pages?
A. If you have not received your directory by June 1, please send us something in writing stating that the directory has not been received and we will have another one sent to you. If it has been damaged or is missing pages, please let us know in writing and another will be sent.
Q. Can I come to the State Bar office to pick up a directory?
A. No, the directories are stored and distributed off-site.
Q. How do I order additional directory copies for my office?
A. You may order additional copies as you would order any other publication. Visit the April Directory page to get the latest cost and delivery information.
Q. How can I get a Certificate of Good Standing?
A. Requests must be made in writing either by fax or by mail, and there is a $10 processing fee per certificate. Use this form or call (888) SBM-For-U (888-726-3678) for more information regarding Certificates of Good Standing.
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).