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Attorney registration fees rise, registration goes online

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Every Indiana attorney’s annual registration fees are going up $15 this year, just as everyone must begin using a new online portal to register and pay their fees by Oct. 1.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Thursday that increases the annual fee from $130 to $145, the second increase in as many years. The order also increases the fees imposed for unpaid fees by $15 at each point on the graduated fine schedule. The annual Continuing Education fee will also rise from $30 to $45.

These rate hikes begin Aug. 1, according to the order signed by Acting Chief Justice Steven H. David. All other justices agreed except for Justice Robert Rucker, who dissented to the registration fee increase.

Indiana has been tied with Maryland as being the least-expensive states in the country for annual registration fees, even after the 2010 increase that upped the amount from $115 to $130. The national median is about $335 for annual fees.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said this hike was a recommendation from several judicial agencies, and not connected to the new online attorney registration portal also being unveiled Aug. 1 by the Indiana Appellate Clerk’s Office. Yearly licensing fees pay for specific programs such as CLE, the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission and Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, while the new registration portal is a budgetary-funded possibility resulting from how the appellate courts and clerk’s office operate and use the court budget, Dolan said.

That new website overhauls the way lawyers and judges pay their annual fees, manage trust accounts, designate surrogate attorneys, and update contact information. The new system will ease the legal community’s ability to navigate the Roll of Attorneys process and save the state judiciary time and money.

Until now, a pre-printed annual registration statement form was mailed to the 20,706 active and inactive attorneys inside and outside of Indiana, in accordance with Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 2. The court rule requires the appellate clerk to send that notice Aug. 1 alerting attorneys about their upcoming fees deadline in two months, and anything more would be a courtesy. A graduated fine schedule begins if fees aren’t paid within 15 days, and a final notice about the non-compliance is sent at year’s end. The following spring, the clerk’s office notifies attorneys who haven’t paid their fees or completed annual CLE credits that they face license suspension if those obligations aren’t met, and the next notice an attorney would receive is from the Supreme Court ordering that discipline for not paying fees or having the required education.

With this new portal, statements will no longer be mailed. This is the final year that will occur, according to appellate court clerk Kevin Smith. Payments will only be accepted by credit card or e-check online. Cash or paper checks will no longer be accepted.

All future annual notices will be sent to the email address provided for the Roll of Attorneys, and the clerk’s office says attorneys should make sure spam filters are set to allow for any emails with the domain @courts.IN.gov.

Once the new portal is accessible Aug. 1, attorneys will initially need to set up an individual account through the new portal at the clerk of courts website http://courts.IN.gov/cofc/. From there, they can navigate the prompts.

Starting Sept. 1, a delegation option will be available at the online portal allowing lawyers to designate administrative assistants, paralegals, bookkeepers, or others to access and change the information and make annual fee payments. This might be especially beneficial for large law firms, Smith said, where one person is often given that task on behalf of practicing attorneys in the firm.

Notifications will appear on the online portal alerting an attorney if he or she has unpaid fees, and the system will also be able to send an email a few days before Oct. 1 as a reminder, Smith said.


 

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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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