Bar News - February 17, 2016
NH Attorney License Renewal 3-1-1
SPECIAL BUSINESS MEETING NOTICE
Proposed NHBA Constitution and Bylaws Amendments
for Consideration by the Membership
The NH Bar Association will hold a special business meeting at 3 p.m. Friday, March 11, 2016, at the NH Bar Center, 2 Pillsbury St., Concord, NH.
The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss and vote on proposed changes to the NH Bar Association Constitution and Bylaws.
The proposed changes fall affect the following sections of the association constitution and bylaws.
Bylaws of the
New Hampshire Bar Association
ARTICLE II – Membership Dues (Sections 6 & 8)
ARTICLE VI – Nomination and Election of Governors and Officers
ARTICLE VII – Receipt and Disbursement of Funds
ARTICLE X – Sections
Constitution of the
New Hampshire Bar Association
ARTICLE II – Membership (Sections 3, 6, 7 and 8)
ARTICLE III – Meetings of the Association
Full text of the amendments.
Three Steps to Compliance, One Deadline, One Place
To make it easier for New Hampshire lawyers to comply with annual licensing requirements and improve efficiency, the New Hampshire Bar Association is working with the NH Supreme Court, the Attorney Discipline Office and the NHMCLE Board to implement changes to the annual membership renewal process.
Starting this year, NH Bar Association members will need to complete three steps, by one deadline, and can do it all in one place. More information will be forthcoming in Bar News, the NH Bar website and mailings to all members. The following is a brief overview.
1) Pay NH Bar Association dues and NH Supreme Court fees
2) Complete an online trust account compliance certification (TAC) form
3) Complete the process to meet the NH Minimum Continuing Legal Education (NHMCLE) requirements using the Attorney Reporting Tool
Note: Licensure for most members will require these three steps; some member statuses will not require all three.
A centerpiece of this effort is coordination of all of the deadlines for the three steps of the license renewal process – paying dues and fees, submitting the TAC form, and reporting the fulfillment of the NH Minimum Continuing Legal Education (NHMCLE) requirement. Members, unless exempted, will have 60 days from June 1 to complete all of the steps without incurring late fees.
A universal deadline of July 1 will be followed by a 30-day grace period before late fees are imposed.
The Bar Association is developing an online Member Dashboard, which members will access by logging into the For Members area at www.nhbar.org. The dashboard will provide – in one place – alerts regarding deadlines and status of compliance for all three steps of the annual license renewal process.
The compliance portion of the dashboard is being finalized and will be launched in advance of the license renewal process.
TIGHTENING UP THE PROCESS
In discussions with the Bar Association, the Court has indicated that it wants to avoid having the compliance process prolonged. Except for cases of hardship or injustice, members would be required to complete the license renewal process within 60 days of the initial renewal notice on June 1. The email renewal notice will include Association dues and mandatory Court fees invoices, a link to the online TAC form, and link to NHMCLE reporting.
SUSPENSION BY THE COURT
Proposed amendments to the NHBA Constitution and Bylaws would eliminate the current six-month “administrative suspension” imposed by the Bar Association and reported to the Court. Under the deadline consolidation plan, members who are delinquent on their dues or fees, and/or have not submitted their TAC forms, and/or failed to complete the NHMCLE reporting process, will be levied late fees starting Aug. 1 (following 30-day grace period).
Suspension orders for non-payment or non-filing would be issued by the Court in October or November. Members may be required to “show cause” by personal appearance before the Supreme Court to avoid suspension. The Bar Association, and the vast majority of members who complete the renewal process in a timely manner, will be spared the unnecessary costs of notification by certified mail through the deletion of the “administrative suspension” provision.
On average, 65 members each year have been administratively suspended – a step that usually results in hasty completion by most of those members to meet their obligations and restore their licenses. Enlisting its persuasive authority earlier, the Court believes, will reduce the number of late payers and filers.
CHANGES TO INACTIVE STATUS
The Court and the Bar Association also envision changes to the membership status-change process. A proposed amendment (Article II, Section 6 of the NH Bar Association bylaws) would establish an “open enrollment period” of 60 days for changes to inactive status, an increase of 30 days from the current 30-day window. Beyond the 60 days, unless hardship or injustice can be demonstrated, members would not be able to change their member status for the purpose of reducing the amounts owed for dues and court fees and the obligation for NHMCLE filing.
• A series of NH Bar Association Constitution and Bylaws amendments have been approved by the Board of Governors and will be submitted for a vote by the membership at a special meeting to be held at 3 p.m., Friday, March 11, in the lower level seminar room at the Bar Association, 2 Pillsbury St., in Concord. (See full amendment text.)
• If the amendments are approved by a member vote (of those eligible voters present at the March 11 meeting), the amendments to the NH Bar Association Constitution will be submitted to the NH Supreme Court. The Court also will have to approve amendments to rules governing the TAC process and NHMCLE.
• An April 7 workshop has been scheduled at the Bar Center to demonstrate the new reporting and filing process for member licensure and will highlight the compliance section of the member dashboard and how it will aid members (and administrators or legal assistants who work for them) in completing all aspects of the license renewal process.
• Resources, such as video segments of the April 7 workshop, will be posted at online to assist members in acquainting themselves with the new tools and the adjustments to the license renewal process.
• Postal mailings, from the Court and the Bar Association, will be sent to all members notifying them in advance of the changes.
• A single email containing links to personalized invoices for Association dues and court fees, the online TAC form, and link to NHMCLE reporting via ART will be sent out the first week of June.
• Under the July 1 deadline consolidation plan, members who are delinquent on their dues or fees, and/or have not submitted their TAC forms, and/or failed to complete the NHMCLE reporting process, will be levied late fees after a 30-day grace period.