Fee statements about to be mailed

first_imgFee statements about to be mailed Fee statements about to be mailed Mark D. Killian Managing Editor Florida Bar members soon will receive their 2002-03 fee statements, reflecting no increase in annual fees and only minor modifications to the form.Bar Finance Director Allen Martin said the fees are payable July 1 and are late after August 15.Members will receive one of two fee statements: one designed for active members and another for those who have elected inactive status. Annual fees are $265. Inactive members pay $175. Dignity in Law Members also have an option to make a voluntary contribution to a number of law-related programs, including the Bar’s new public education and awareness program titled “Dignity in Law.”The initiative seeks to communicate the positive work of attorneys across Florida, according to President-elect Tod Aronovitz, and will be one of the key goals of his administration, which begins in July.“Every member of the Bar needs to embrace this important effort if we are to succeed,” Aronovitz said. “Only a truly united front can demonstrate the positive and fundamental role that the legal profession plays as a basic element of our society and our democracy. You can help by adding in the $45 suggested contribution to The Florida Bar’s Dignity in Law program.”Aronovitz said the campaign will employ new communications techniques to inform the public about the profession’s successes through the eyes of those lawyers help.“communicating our positive stories to editors, reporters, and directly to the public, The Florida Bar’s awareness initiatives will differ dramatically from past efforts, which focused on advertising,” Aronovitz said. “We will build an arsenal of media materials, a news bureau of information about the profession, and a response team to combat inaccurate media coverage. Our goal is to become the information source for positive news about the profession.”Lawyers also will have an opportunity to contribute to the Attorney’s Charitable Trust, a permanent fund offering lawyers an avenue for donations to provide aid and assistance following disasters that cause the disruption of legal processes and court systems or that result in reduced citizen access to the legal system. ACT will help fellow lawyers as well as victims and their families in the aftermath of a disaster, said President Terry Russell.“Our efforts on behalf of this new not-for-profit organization could not have greater importance in this day and time,” Russell said. “Inspired by the tragic events of September 11, and the memory of Florida disasters such as Hurricane Andrew and the Everglades ValueJet crash, ACT will serve to reaffirm the commitment of the Bar to its members and to public service.”The fee statement also allows members to make donations to the Florida Bar Foundation’s Lawyers Challenge for Children campaign and the Supreme Court Historical Society. Members also will have the option to complete their annual fee statement and pay their fees online via the Bar’s Web site at www.FLABAR.org. “Members should be aware that the fee statements are two-sided and must be completed both front and back and be mailed along with their payment to cover their fees and sections joined,” Martin said.Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, fees postmarked after August 15 will be assessed a $50 late fee. Members who do not pay by September 30 will be deemed delinquent. The delinquency may be cleared by petitioning the Bar, paying the fees, the late fee, and a $150 reinstatement fee.Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, members delinquent for five years will lose their Bar membership on October 1. To be reinstated, those members must meet all the requirements of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Pro Bono Reports This year’s fee form again includes a pro bono section for Bar members to report if they have met the Supreme Court’s aspirational pro bono goals. The court asks lawyers to provide 20 hours of pro bono service or donate $350 to a legal aid program each year.A series of questions promulgated by the court appears on the fee statement, depending on what option the attorney selected. The court wants to know:• How many hours of pro bono service the lawyer donated and if the work was done through an organized legal aid program or on the lawyer’s own.• If the lawyer’s firm provided pro bono collectively under a plan operated by a circuit pro bono committee, with an indication of how much was allocated to the member.• If the lawyer has contributed to a legal aid organization in lieu of performing pro bono work.• Whether the attorney was unable to provide pro bono service or met the provision for being deferred.• How the lawyer fulfilled his or her service if done in some manner not specifically envisioned by the plan.The details of the pro bono plan, including the reporting provisions, can be found under Rule 4-6.5 beginning on page 752 of the September 2001 Bar Journal directory. Community Service This year’s fee statement again features a purely voluntary section that allows members to report the community and public service they have performed over the past year. The purpose is to obtain data to show contributions lawyers make by way of community service. Lawyers may voluntarily report whether they have provided service to the legal community, religious organizations, civic organizations, or other charities and how many hours they donated.The community service questions are separate from the court’s pro bono reporting requirements, and answering these questions does not constitute compliance with the required pro bono responses. Trust Accounting The statement also requires that all lawyers indicate whether they comply with the Bar’s trust accounting requirements and the interest on trust accounts rule.answering the trust accounting question online, members certify they comply with Bar rules that mandate, “All nominal and short-term funds belonging to clients or third persons which are placed in trust with any member of The Florida Bar practicing from an office or other business location within the State of Florida shall be deposited in one or more interest-bearing trust checking accounts in an eligible financial institution for the benefit of the Foundation.”The Florida Bar Foundation may be contacted at (800) 541-2195 (for in-state members only) or (407) 843-0045 to answer IOTA questions. Installments Members who meet eligibility requirements may pay their annual fees in three equal installments. The first payment must be postmarked by August 15. To be eligible, members must be in the second or third year since admission to the Bar or be employed by a government agency in a nonelected position that requires the individual to maintain membership in good standing with the Bar. Only annual fees or prorated fees may be paid in installments. Section dues must be paid in full.The three payments must be postmarked by August 15, November 1, and February 1, 2003. The Bar will send statements for the second and third installments. A $50 late fee will be assessed if any payment is received late. For more information on paying in installments, see Rule 1-7.3(c). Other Options Bar members also may join sections and the Out-of-State Practitioners Division using the fee form. Sections marked show the attorney’s current membership. To join other sections, members may darken the circles next to the section they want to join and include the section dues with their membership fees.The fee statement also provides lawyers the opportunity to reduce their section dues by joining combinations of the Government Lawyer Section with the Administrative Law Section and/or the Criminal Law Section or the Administrative Law Section and the Criminal Law Section.Members also may opt for inactive membership by marking the inactive status proclamation located near the bottom of the front page of the active membership statement and paying their fees by a postmark date of August 15. Active members may not elect inactive status online.Those who chose inactive status on last year’s statement will receive an inactive membership fee statement this year. It has many of the same features as the active membership fee statement, but does not allow the inactive member to join sections. Inactive members, however, can become affiliate members of the Out-of-State Practitioners Division or the Administrative Law, Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, Environmental and Land Use Law, and Tax Law sections.choosing inactive status, Bar members will reduce their annual fees by $90 and get automatic exemptions from continuing legal education requirements. They will, however, also give up a number of privileges, including the privilege to practice or advise on Florida law or hold a job that requires a Florida law license; to participate in the Bar’s certification program; to vote in Bar elections or be counted for purposes of apportionment of the Board of Governors; and to receive Bar publications, including the Journal and annual directory. Inactive members do continue to receive the Bar News. Inactive members who wish to become active again must call the Bar’s Membership Records Department at (850) 561-5832 or (800) 561-8060, ext. 5832.center_img May 15, 2002 Managing Editor Regular Newslast_img

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