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Order affirms delinquent fee waivers

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The Indiana Supreme Court issued an administrative order Tuesday allowing the executive secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission and the executive director of the Indiana Commission on Continuing Legal Education to continue to grant waivers to attorneys for delinquent fees and reinstatement fees assessed pursuant to Admission & Discipline Rules 23(21) and 29(7).

The waivers may be granted upon a written showing of good cause and upon such grounds are just and proper under the circumstances. If the executive director and executive secretary can't agree upon the disposition of any waiver request, it will be submitted to the chief justice for final action. Joint decisions of the executive secretary and executive director are final and unappealable.

The order continues a policy that's been in place since 1999. In the mid-1990s, the Supreme Court changed a rule that previously had allowed inactive lawyers to not pay annual registration fees, said Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary Donald Lundberg. The policy revision allowed inactive attorneys to pay half the regular active registration fee instead, and a notice was sent to impacted attorneys.

"But we knew there'd be an unknown group of lawyers that we were convinced were out there and wouldn't get this notice," Lundberg said. "So, going on, we knew we'd be liberal on waiving fees for any inactive lawyers coming out of the woodwork."

Most of those inactive attorneys were suspended in 2005 and the 1999 administrative order let the Disciplinary Commission and Commission on Continuing Legal Education consider waiving those registration fees on a case-by-case basis. Lundberg said at one point, the court considered the fee waiver requests, but the administrative task was delegated to Lundberg and Julia Orzeske, executive director of the Commission on CLE.

In addition to requests for wavier from inactive attorneys, Lundberg said they've received requests from active attorneys facing extraordinary circumstances, like bankruptcy or health emergencies that may warrant a waiver of the fees due by Oct. 1. The offices don't officially track the numbers, but Lundberg said they receive about two dozen requests from active lawyers each year and between 10 and 20 percent are granted. Only a handful of inactive attorneys ask for the waiver and most of those are granted.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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