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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. 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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