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News & Press: State Bar News

Supreme Court seeks comment on proposed State Bar dues increase

Friday, September 29, 2017  
Posted by: Joe Menden
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The Montana Supreme Court is asking for comment from State Bar of Montana members and the public on a dues increase request from the State Bar.

The bar petitioned the court on Sept. 21, asking for a dues increase ranging from $25 to $100 depending on member type. For Active Attorney members, dues would increase from $200 to either $285 or $300; for Inactive Attoney members, dues would rise from $125 to $190; and for Senior members, dues would increase from $50 to $75. Dues would not increase for other member types.

"We look forward to working with our members to ensure the viability of the State Bar and the continued self-regulation of our profession," said Bruce Spencer, the bar's immediate past president. "We have been good stewards with our member dollars and have not asked for a dues increase in eight years. The loss of revenue from the Health Trust disbanding and cost inflation require the bar to ask for the increase to maintain financial stability. Our Trustees will be meeting with local bars in the coming months to gain member insight."

State Bar members and members of the public may file comments on the proposed increases with the clerk of the Montana Supreme Court on or before Nov. 17. The comment period opened on Sept. 27. After the comment period, the bar will have until Dec. 1 to respond in writing to the comments from the public and membership.

According to the bar’s petition, increased administrative costs for the bar to support court-ordered programs are the primary reason a dues increase is needed. The bar has monthly expenses of approximately $130,000, with 16 employees, not counting six Office of Disciplinary Counsel employees.

In addition to providing services to State Bar members and to the public, State Bar staff directly support four Supreme Court Commissions, 17 State Bar committees, and 17 State Bar sections.

A copy of the court’s order for a comment period – to which the bar’s petition for a dues increase is attached – is posted on the bar website at www.montanabar.org.