Have you paid your annual Bar fees yet?
Just sign into the Member Portal at member.floridabar.org and click the 'Pay My Fees' button
The Bar’s annual fee season is underway with the traditional first option of paying online by signing into the Member Portal at member.floridabar.org and clicking the “Pay My Fees” button. It is the quickest and easiest way to pay your annual fees, elect voluntary section memberships, and stay in compliance with Bar rules for trust accounting and pro bono reporting.
There are also several other fee payment options in place:
• If you want to use an alternate payment method such as e-check or pay by phone, you need to click on “Pay My Fees” to make your selections and answer the required questions and click on Print/Pay by Mail. Then you will need to call 850-561-5831, option 3 or 4, or email [email protected] to obtain further instructions for those payment options.
• Law firms wishing to make a single payment for multiple attorney members should call 850-561-5831, option 3, or email [email protected] to work with the membership department in testing a new batch procedure created to simplify this process.
• The Bar will mail pre-printed statements in the second week of June to any member who has not paid electronically by late May. Using the pre-printed form and mailing in checks is the slowest option and requires extra processing time so members should not expect to see their payments posted for several weeks after transmission.
The Supreme Court recently added a new subdivision (g) to Rule 1-3.6 (Delinquent Members) to make clear that a Florida lawyer who fails to file their annual trust account certificate required in Chapter 5 will be deemed delinquent and ineligible to practice law. When paying your fees online, members will not be able to complete the fee process without completing the trust account certificate. The mandatory trust accounting certification and pro bono reporting questions are also being moved to the front of the paper membership fees statement to make them more conspicuous. Thousands of Bar members fail to complete the trust accounting certificate each year and are, thus, deemed delinquent and ineligible to practice.
Members with questions on how to answer the trust accounting certification can call the Ethics Hotline at 800-235-8619 or read the trust account certificate instructions here.
Florida Bar President-elect Gary Lesser said the Bar is focused on helping our lawyer members, supporting the court system, and protecting the public.
“The last couple of years have been challenging for most people, including Florida lawyers, our families and clients,” Lesser said. “As we continue to move forward, we are proud to serve as a national leader in member services, professionalism and ethics, and access to justice.”
Lesser asks members to visit FloridaBar.org to take advantage of the many free tools and services available to Florida Bar members, including LegalFuel practice management tools; member benefits and discounts, including free legal research through Fastcase; health and wellness resources, and other helpful and practical information designed to assist Florida lawyers with their daily practice of law.
“In addition to paying your Bar membership fees (which has not been raised in 22 years), I would encourage you to join or renew your membership in one of the many sections of The Florida Bar,” Lesser said. “Section membership is a great way to access the latest information and education on specific practice areas and to develop a network of diverse and like-minded lawyers across the state. Section involvement also provides great opportunities for leadership experience that can help you grow personally and professionally while working collaboratively to improve the practice of law.”
Understanding that these are also difficult financial times for many, the Bar has an installment payment plan option that will allow those needing the ability to stretch the fee portion of the payments out until February. That option selection and initial one-third payment must be made no later than August 15. The installment option can be selected using the online portal once a member has reached the payment portion of the online form process.
Florida lawyers also have an opportunity when completing this year’s fee statement to make voluntary contributions to support the work of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, to help vulnerable children through a donation to The Florida Bar Foundation, and to advance the profession through the work of the Florida Lawyers Association for the Maintenance of Excellence (FLAME).
“Most of all, I hope the next year will be a healthy and happy one for you and your family, and that you’ll take advantage of everything The Florida Bar offers to help and support you,” Lesser said. “I’m looking forward to working with you and for you as the president of The Florida Bar.”