Rule 1-501. License Fees
Organization of the State Bar & Admissions / Part I - Creation & Organization / CHAPTER 5 FINANCE / Rule 1-501. License Fees
(a) Annual license fees for membership in the State Bar of Georgia shall be due and payable on July 1 of each year. Upon the failure of a member to pay the license fee by September 1, the member shall cease to be a member in good standing. When such license fees, including any late fees, costs, charges or penalties incurred by the State Bar of Georgia as a result of a cancelled or dishonored payment of any type or kind for the current and prior years have been paid in full, the member shall automatically be reinstated to the status of member in good standing, except as provided in subsection (b) of this Rule.
(b) In the event a member of the State Bar of Georgia is delinquent in the payment of any license fee, late fee, assessment, reinstatement fee, or cost, charge or penalty incurred by the State Bar of Georgia as a result of a cancelled or dishonored payment of any type or kind and of any nature for a period of one year, the member shall be automatically suspended, and shall not practice law in this state. The suspended member may thereafter lift such suspension only upon the successful completion of all of the following terms and conditions:
(1) payment of all outstanding dues, assessments, late fees, reinstatement fees, and any and all penalties due and owing before or accruing after the suspension of membership;
(2) provision to the membership section of the State Bar of Georgia of the following:
(i) a certificate from the Office of the General Counsel of the State Bar of Georgia that the suspended member is not presently subject to any disciplinary procedure;
(ii) a certificate from the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency that the suspended member is current on all requirements for continuing legal education;
(iii) a determination of fitness from the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants;
(3) payment to the State Bar of Georgia of a non-waivable reinstatement fee as follows:
(i) $150 for the first reinstatement paid within the first year of suspension, plus $150 for each year of suspension thereafter up to a total of five years;
(ii) $250 for the second reinstatement paid within the first year of suspension, plus $250 for each year of suspension thereafter up to a total of five years;
(iii) $500 for the third reinstatement paid within the first year of suspension, plus $500 for each year of suspension thereafter up to a total of five years; or
(iv) $750 for each subsequent reinstatement paid within the first year of suspension, plus $750 for each year of suspension thereafter up to a total of five years.
The yearly increase in the reinstatement fee shall become due and owing in its entirety upon the first day of each next fiscal year and shall not be prorated for any fraction of the fiscal year in which it is actually paid.
A member who has been suspended pursuant to this Rule may submit in writing to the Executive Committee a request for an extension of time to complete any of the requirements contained in subsection (b). The request must state with particularity the reasons and need for the extension. The Executive Committee, upon sufficient and reasonable cause, may grant such an extension.
(c) A member suspended under subsection (b) above for a total of five years in succession shall be immediately terminated as a member without further action on the part of the State Bar of Georgia. The terminated member shall not be entitled to a hearing as set out in subsection (d) below. The terminated member shall be required to apply for membership to the Office of Bar Admissions for readmission to the State Bar of Georgia. Upon completion of the requirements for readmission, the terminated member shall be required to pay the total reinstatement fee due under subsection (b) (3) above plus an additional $750 as a readmission fee to the State Bar of Georgia.
(d) Prior to suspending a member under subsection (b) above, the State Bar of Georgia shall send by certified mail a notice thereof to the last known address of the member as contained in the official membership records. It shall specify the years for which the license fee is delinquent and state that unless either the fee and all penalties related thereto are paid within 60 days or a hearing to establish reasonable cause is requested within 60 days, the membership shall be suspended.
If a hearing is requested, it shall be held at State Bar of Georgia Headquarters within 90 days of receipt of the request by the Executive Committee. Notice of time and place of the hearing shall be mailed at least ten days in advance. The party cited may be represented by counsel. Witnesses shall be sworn; and, if requested by the party cited, a complete electronic record or a transcript shall be made of all proceedings and testimony. The expense of the record shall be paid by the party requesting it, and a copy thereof shall be furnished to the Executive Committee. The presiding member or Special Master shall have the authority to rule on all motions, objections, and other matters presented in connection with the Georgia Rules of Civil Procedure, and the practice in the trial of civil cases. The party cited may not be required to testify over his or her objection.
The Executive Committee shall (1) make findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall determine whether the party cited was delinquent in violation of Rule 1-501; and (2) upon a finding of delinquency shall determine whether there was reasonable cause for the delinquency. Financial hardship short of adjudicated bankruptcy shall not constitute reasonable cause. A copy of the findings and the determination shall be sent to the party cited. If it is determined that no delinquency has occurred, the matter shall be dismissed. If it is determined that delinquency has occurred but that there was reasonable cause therefor, the matter shall be deferred for one year at which time the matter will be reconsidered. If it is determined that delinquency has occurred without reasonable cause therefor, the membership shall be suspended immediately upon such determination. An appropriate notice of suspension shall be sent to the clerks of all Georgia courts and shall be published in an official publication of the State Bar of Georgia. Alleged errors of law in the proceedings or findings of the Executive Committee or its delegate shall be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Executive Committee may delegate to a special master any or all of its responsibilities and authority with respect to suspending membership for license fee delinquency in which event the Special Master shall make a report to the Committee of its findings for its approval or disapproval.
After a finding of delinquency, a copy of the finding shall be served upon the respondent attorney. The respondent attorney may file with the Court any written exceptions (supported by the written argument) said respondent may have to the findings of the Executive Committee. All such exceptions shall be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Georgia and served on the Executive Committee by service on the General Counsel within 20 days of the date that the findings were served on the respondent attorney. Upon the filing of exceptions by the respondent attorney, the Executive Committee shall within 20 days of said filing file a report of its findings and the complete record and transcript of evidence with the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Supreme Court of Georgia may grant extensions of time for filing in appropriate cases. Findings of fact by the Executive Committee shall be conclusive if supported by any evidence. The Supreme Court of Georgia may grant oral argument on any exception filed with it upon application for such argument by the respondent attorney or the Executive Committee. The Supreme Court of Georgia shall promptly consider the report of the Executive Committee, exceptions thereto, and the responses filed by any party to such exceptions, if any, and enter its judgment. A copy of the Supreme Court of Georgia's judgment shall be transmitted to the Executive Committee and to the respondent attorney by the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Within 30 days after a final judgment which suspends membership, the suspended member shall, under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Georgia, notify all clients of said suspended member's inability to represent them and of the necessity for promptly retaining new counsel, and shall take all actions necessary to protect the interests of said suspended member's clients. Should the suspended member fail to notify said clients or fail to protect their interests as herein required, the Supreme Court of Georgia, upon its motion, or upon the motion of the State Bar of Georgia, and after ten days notice to the suspended member and proof of failure to notify or protect said clients, may hold the suspended member in contempt and order that a member or members of the State Bar of Georgia take charge of the files and records of said suspended member and proceed to notify all clients and take such steps as seem indicated to protect their interests. Any member of the State Bar of Georgia appointed by the Supreme Court of Georgia to take charge of the files and records of the suspended member under these Rules shall not be permitted to disclose any information contained in the files and records in his or her care without the consent of the client to whom such file or record relates, except as clearly necessary to carry out the order of the Supreme Court of Georgia.
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