Cal State Bar Prepares to Implement Historic Reforms Following Gov. Brown Signature on the Agency’s Annual Fee Bill

State Bar of California News Release

For Immediate Release: Oct. 2, 2017

State Bar Prepares to Implement Historic Reforms Following Gov. Brown Signature on the Agency’s Annual Fee Bill

On October 2, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 36 into law, the fee bill for the State Bar of California. In addition to setting the annual licensing fee for lawyers, SB 36 includes historic reforms for the public protection agency.

The reforms include:

  • Separation of the voluntary Sections into a private non-profit entity.
  • Transition to a Board of Trustees comprised entirely of trustees appointed by the State Bar’s oversight bodies – the California Supreme Court, the Legislature and the Governor. The reconstituted board will consist of seven attorneys and six non-attorneys to be appointed for four-year terms. The practice of allowing attorneys to elect some trustees will end.
  • Appointment by the Supreme Court of a Chair and a Vice Chair for the Board of Trustees, instead of officers elected by the Board of Trustees.

“These reforms will allow the State Bar to focus on protecting Californians who need access to ethical and competent attorneys by regulating the practice of law, pursuing diversity in the profession and our justice system, and promoting access to justice for Californians of every income level,” said State Bar President Michael G. Colantuono.

“SB 36 supports the State Bar in our ongoing reforms to focus on our mission of public protection. While transition and change can present challenges, I am confident that we are on the right track to best serve the people of California,” said State Bar Executive Director Leah T. Wilson.

The legislation maintains the basic annual licensing fee at $315 for practicing attorneys with active status, the amount the Legislature has set since 2000. Combined with additional fees, the total 2018 fee for active status lawyers will be $430, and $155 for attorneys with inactive status. All fees will be due Feb. 1, 2018.

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“The State Bar of California’s mission is to protect the public and includes the primary functions of licensing, regulation and discipline of attorneys; the advancement of the ethical and competent practice of law; and support of efforts for greater access to, and inclusion in, the legal system.”

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