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Bar News - September 16, 2015


Improving the Annual Compliance Process

By:

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

— John F. Kennedy

What’s Due When?

NHBA Dues – Due July 1
Invoices sent by email in June.

Court Fees – Due July 1
Invoice from the court sent by email with the dues bill in June, these fees include the Professional Conduct Committee, Lawyers Assistance Program, and the Public Protection Fund when applicable (no PPF fee this year).

Trust Account Compliance Form – Due Aug. 1*
*Revised this year only to Sept. 1

NHMCLE Annual Reporting – Due Oct. 1
For credits earned from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

Visit the Attorney Reporting Tool (ART) website at www.nhmcle.org to report CLE credits by Oct. 1.

Find more details about compliance with Rule 53 at www.nhbar.org/nhmcle.

A single deadline date. That’s what the NH Bar Association and the NH Supreme Court are working toward, collaborating to simplify the end-of-the-year compliance and reporting processes for membership dues, court fees, trust accounting forms and compliance with continuing legal education credit requirements.

Over the past three years, the Bar Association has been transitioning to less costly and more efficient paperless processes for invoicing association dues and mandatory fees, which the Bar Association collects on behalf of the Court. The past year has also seen the implementation of a new online reporting process for NH Minimum Continuing Legal Education credits. (The NHMCLE rule, governed by Supreme Court Rule 53, is administered by the Bar Association for the Court.)

The majority of members have adapted to these new processes, and the changes have already reduced the amount of mail and paper generated – and the staffing required – to administer them.

Changes rarely occur without complications, and invariably require adjustments to reach a desired objective. As a result of some of the new processes implemented in the past year, the Bar Association and the Court are now examining the feasibility of synchronizing the deadline dates for association dues, mandatory court fees and court-ordered certificates of compliance, such as the trust account compliance certification required by Supreme Court Rule 50.

Trust Account Compliance – SC Rule 50

While the majority of members have adapted well to online invoicing and forms distribution, as demonstrated by a number of positive comments received about the ability to pay renewal dues and fees online by credit card, the transition has had glitches.

Most recently, some members taking advantage of the online invoicing and dues payment process apparently overlooked the remaining paper-based step of printing out and mailing signed trust accounting compliance (TAC) forms that were due Aug. 1. The number of members who had not met the TAC form deadline this year was double the usual number, and the court agreed to a one-time extension of the deadline to Sept. 1 before late fees will apply. Before the revised deadline, the Bar Association conducted an intensive effort to inform members, who had not filed, to submit their TAC forms. The results were successful with only 2 percent of the total membership required to file remaining out of compliance.

NHMCLE Reporting SC Rule 53

Meanwhile, efforts are continuing to alert members to complete the NHMCLE reporting process by Oct. 1 to avoid late fees. All members must use the online Attorney Reporting Tool (ART) at www.nhmcle.org to activate an account, report their credits, file a certifying affidavit and pay a $10 annual fee.

The deadline for completing the reporting process for the July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 reporting period is Oct. 1. (See NHMCLE article or visit the NHBA website for more information.)

Members of the court, in consultation with NHBA leaders and Jeannine McCoy, NHBA executive director, support the concept of a single deadline and have begun to explore the feasibility of moving all of the deadlines – payment of association dues and mandatory court fees, NHMCLE reporting and the filing of the Trust Accounting Compliance forms – to the same date.

One Deadline for All Forms, Payments

Migrating to a single deadline involves a collaborative effort, including the Supreme Court to amend the related court rules; the Attorney Discipline Office to update its Trust Account Compliance workflows; and the NH Bar Association to update its workflows and develop new software to provide an effective and efficient member interface that will assist members with meeting annual membership requirements.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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