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General Membership Q&A
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Annual Dues, Fees & Assessments

The State Bar's fiscal year runs April 1 to March 31. Annual fees and assessments are due April 1 each year.

Active $495
Inactive $215
Active Military $170
Senior $50
Emeritus & Judicial $0

Voluntary Sections:

Bankruptcy Section ($20)   Natural Resources & Environmental Law Section ($10)
BETTR Law ($20)    New Lawyers’ Section ($15)
Construction Law Section ($20)    Nonprofit Law ($20)
Criminal Law Section ($15)    Paralegal Section ($85)
Family Law Section ($10)   Public Law Section ($10)
Federal Practice Section ($20)   School Law Section ($20)
Health Care Law Section ($10; FREE 1st yr)   Veterans Law Section ($20)
Indian Law Section ($20)   Water Law Section ($30)
Intellectual Property Law Section ($30)   Women’s Law Section ($20)

 


 

 

 

 

 

Why are Inactive members required to pay the Montana Supreme Court’s license tax?

The Clerk of Court is the authority that issues your license and collects the license tax on behalf of the Supreme Court. Active, active military and inactive members must maintain their license each year. [Section37-61-211, MCA]

Can fees and assessments be paid by credit card?

Yes-the State Bar accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. Members who pay fees and assessments by credit card will be charged a processing fee. To avoid this charge mail in your payment in the form of check or money order. Use the chart below to determine your fee.

MEMBER TYPE    FEE 
Active Attorney Member    $18
Active Military Member    $0
Inactive Attorney Member    $7
Senior Attorney Member    $0
New Admittee - Active   $5
New Admittee - Inactive    $2
Paralegal Section Member    $2
 
Why are governmental lawyers required to pay the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection assessment?

The assessment is a Court-ordered requirement for all active and active military members of the State Bar. [165 Mont. 1, 530 P.2d 765 (1975)]

How do I pay online?

To pay online, log in at www.montanabar.org. After log in select the “Pay Dues/Change Contact Information” button then click the “Renew Your Membership Now” link.

How would I request a hardship waiver?

Members of the State Bar of Montana who are experiencing difficulty as a result of financial hardship and are unable to pay full or partial dues may apply for a waiver using the necessary form HERE. This waiver applies to dues ONLY. The State Bar of Montana does not have authority to waive Court-ordered fees or assessments.

Members of the State Bar of Montana in a good standing who become disabled may request a full or partial waiver of dues until they are able to return to work using the necessary form HERE. This waiver applies to dues ONLY. The State Bar of Montana does not have authority to waive Court-ordered fees or assessments.  

Who pays the assessment for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?

The assessment is a Court-ordered requirement for all active and active military members of the State Bar. [MT Supreme Court Order dated January 15, 2002]

What happens if I do not pay the fees and assessments?

Members who fail to postmark their payment by April 1 will be mailed a second notice and assessed a $50 late fee. If the 1st of April falls on a weekend the following Monday will be accepted. If, after 30 days from the date of the second notice, there is no payment received a notice of delinquency will be mailed to the primary address of record by both regular and certified mail. Within 20 days from the date of this notice the member is suspended for non-payment and will incur an additional $200 reinstatement fee. The names of suspended members will be provided to all Courts of Record in Montana. Dues and penalty fees will continue to accrue for each year left unpaid. Members whose dues are in arrears for 3 or more years are required to petition the Montana Supreme Court before reinstatement will be granted.

I paid but have not received my bar card. When can I expect it?

Please allow up to 14 business days from the date your payment is processed.

Change of Address

Members can update their contact information by logging into this website. Once logged in choose Edit Bio under Information and Settings within the Manage Profile Area. A written request may also be sent by email to jdiveley@montanabar.org, via fax (406) 442-7763 or mailed to P.O. Box 577, Helena, MT  59624. Please include your bar number and/or date of birth for verification.

CLE Reporting

The CLE reporting cycle runs from April 1 to March 31 each year. All active attorneys must complete at least 15 credits of continuing legal education every reporting year. Of these 15, a minimum of two credits must be earned from programs on the topic of ethics or professionalism. For more information visit the Montana Continuing Legal Education page.

Certificates and Letters of Good Standing

Certificates of good standing are $20 and can be ordered through our online store. The certificate reflects your current status and date of admission with the State Bar of Montana.A letter of good standing can be obtained at no cost by contacting Jill at jdiveley@montanabar.org. The letter reflects your current status and date of admission with the State Bar of Montana.

A statement of discipline must be obtained separately through the Montana Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel (406) 442-1648.

IOLTA

IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts) reporting is managed by the Montana Justice Foundation. Visit www.mtjustice.org/iolta, call (406) 523-3920 or email mjf@mtjustice.org for more information.

Logging In

By default usernames are your first and last name as it's listed with the State Bar with no space in between. Example: John Doe's username = JohnDoe or johndoe (usernames are not case sensitive) If you share a common name with another member (i.e. John Smith) try including your middle initial if the system is not recognizing it.

Passwords must be created by the member. To create a password for the first time OR if you have logged in before but forgot your password, visit the Forgot Password or New User page. You can also get there from the main homepage by clicking on the "Sign In securely" link. Passwords must be at least 8 characters in length and contain at least one number and one non-numeric character (letters, punctuation, etc.)

Additional log in help HERE

Mailing List Requests

Requests for a mailing list or labels must be provided in writing and requires approval by the Executive Director. View additional details on cost, available criteria, etc. Mailing List Application.
 
The State Bar reserves the right to decline to sell mailing labels or lists to anyone and reserves the right to review all materials being mailed through use of such labels or lists. State Bar letterhead may not be used in connection with the marketing of products or services endorsed by the State Bar of Montana. Labels or lists may not be sold for political purposes and may be sold to commercial vendors only if the product or service is law-related, in good taste, and does not conflict with the purposes of the State Bar of Montana. Labels or lists may be sold for judicial campaigns. Decisions concerning the sale of labels or lists will be made by the Executive Director. Only the member’s name and mailing address will be provided. Email addresses will not be provided. Appeals concerning decisions of the Executive Director may be made to the Executive Committee. [Policies of the Board of Trustees, State Bar of Montana Chapter 2-117]

Member Status Categories

Active Attorney Status 

The class of active members includes all members of the State Bar licensed to practice law in the State of Montana. Annual dues are $495 and requires reporting of 15 hours of CLE each year.

Note: Except as provided in Article I,§3(g) of the State Bar of Montana bylaws, only active and active military service members may practice law in the State of Montana. No person other than an enrolled active member or active military service member of the State Bar may practice in this state or in any manner claim to be authorized or qualified to practice law. 

Active Military Attorney Status

The class of active military service members includes those who are full-time military service members.  The State Bar of Montana considers a member eligible for active military status if the member is serving on active duty or active service or working exclusively as a judge advocate in the Armed Forces of the United States. Many Active Military members are required as part of their service to belong to a State Bar and maintain an active license. Although classified as active members, this category exempts them from paying membership dues or reporting CLE however, Active Military members are required to pay all Montana Supreme Court ordered assessments in the amount of $170.

Note: Except as provided in Article I,§3(g) of the State Bar of Montana bylaws, only active and active military service members may practice law in the State of Montana. No person other than an enrolled active member or active military service member of the State Bar may practice in this state or in any manner claim to be authorized or qualified to practice law.

Inactive Attorney Status

The class of inactive members includes those who are eligible for active membership but are not engaged in the practice of law in Montana. Annual dues are $215 with no CLE reporting requirement.

Inactive Disability Status

The class of inactive/disability members includes members who have been transferred to such status as per Rule 28 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement. 

Senior Attorney Status

The class of senior members shall include those members who are at least 70 years of age and not engaged in the practice of law in Montana. Senior members are considered inactive but exempt from paying the $25 Supreme Court license tax. Upon return from senior to inactive or active status, the member must pay all license taxes waived during their senior membership. Annual dues are $50 with no CLE reporting requirement.

Emeritus Attorney Status

The class of emeritus members shall include members who have applied for and been granted emeritus status pursuant to Article I,§3(g) of the State Bar By-Laws. A member who is granted status as an emeritus attorney may practice law only as provided in the by-laws and will be awarded upon application to a lawyer member who meets the requirements as listed in §3(g).  Emeritus members are Bar members who have been an active or judicial member for a minimum of 10 out of the 15 years immediately preceding the application for emeritus status. To retain emeritus status once approved, the member must annually complete 25 hours of pro bono legal services through a qualified provider. There are no annual dues for Emeritus members however, they are required to report 10 hours of approved CLE per year.  Of the ten (10) credit hours, at least five (5) credit hours must be earned by attendance at interactive seminars as defined in Rule 7 of the Rules for Continuing Legal Education. Emeritus members are subject to the same requirements as active members for credit hours in ethics. More information and how to apply is available Application for Emeritus.

Judicial Status

The class of judicial members includes elected or appointed members of the Montana judicial system who devote full time professional activity as judges, and retired judges who are eligible for temporary judicial assignment and are not engaged in the practice of law.  The Montana judicial system includes Supreme Court justices, district court judges, the chief water judge, the workers’ compensation judge, attorneys serving as justices of the peace, attorneys serving as city judges, standing masters, federal administrative law judges residing in Montana, and federal trial, appellate and bankruptcy judges residing in Montana. Judicial status is also accorded to members of the State Bar who are justices or judges of other courts of record of the United States or of the several states, or who are retired from such courts and are not engaged in the practice of law. 

Resigned Status

The class of resigned members includes lawyers who were previously a member of the State Bar of Montana but submitted a voluntary letter of resignation to the State Bar of Montana. Resigning membership relinquishes your license to practice in Montana. Members who file notice of the surrender of their license shall cease to be a member of the State Bar and their name will be removed from the rolls of licensed attorneys.

Paralegal Section Member

The class of paralegal associate members includes those who have voluntarily enrolled as a member of the paralegal section.

Membership Status Changes

How do I transfer from Inactive* to Active?

Members must petition the Montana Supreme Court using the required petition form in order to regain active status. Once approved by Court order, the member will owe the difference in dues, fees and assessments between active and inactive membership for the current year. In addition as might be ordered by the Court, the member may be required to complete 15 or 30 hours of CLE within 6 months of the status change. You do not have to have the CLE requirement, if any, completed before you can return to active. The original petition along with 2 copies must be submitted to the Montana Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 203003, Helena, MT 59620. We also request an additional copy be sent to the State Bar office at P.O. Box 577, Helena, MT 59624.

*voluntary inactive status; members who were transferred to inactive for non-compliance of CLE please refer to Rule 12 - Rules for Continuing Legal Education https://www.mtcle.org/lawyer/law_rules.asp 

How do I transfer to Inactive, Senior or Active Military?

Requests to elect inactive, senior or active military must be made in writing, include bar number and/or date of birth for verification and filed with the State Bar. Members requesting an active military status must provide documentation of their service requirements using the required petition form. Unless otherwise indicated in the request a change of status will occur upon receipt at the Bar office.

What if I am no longer serving in the military and need to transfer to Active membership?

Requests to return to inactive, senior or active military must be made in writing, include bar number and/or date of birth for verification and filed with the State Bar. The member must also make payment of the difference in member dues, fees and assessments for the current year. The member will be responsible for the filing of the required 15 CLE credit hours in the year following the status change.

How do I transfer from Senior to Active?

Members must petition the Montana Supreme Court using the required petition form in order to regain active status. Once approved by Court order, the member will owe the difference in dues, fees and assessments between active and senior membership for the current year as well as all license tax fees waived during senior status in compliance with Section 37-61-211, MCA. The original petition along with 2 copies must be submitted to the Montana Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 203003, Helena, MT 59620. We also request an additional copy be sent to the State Bar office at P.O. Box 577, Helena, MT 59624.

How do I transfer from Emeritus to Active?

Members must petition the Montana Supreme Court using the required petition form in order to regain active status. Once approved by Court order, the member will owe payment of active fees and assessments for the current year including payment of all license taxes waived during emeritus status in compliance with Section 37-61-211, MCA. In addition, the member shall complete any CLE requirements as might be ordered by the Supreme Court and in accord with the Rules of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education. The original petition along with 2 copies must be submitted to the Montana Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 203003, Helena, MT 59620. We also request an additional copy be sent to the State Bar office at P.O. Box 577, Helena, MT 59624.

What if I am no longer going to practice law in Montana and want to resign my membership?

Whenever a member files with the State Bar a written notice of the surrender of his or her license to practice law in Montana, such person shall thereupon cease to be a member of the State Bar and their name shall be removed from the membership register. A request to resign membership must be made in writing, include bar number and/or date of birth and filed with the State Bar. Unless otherwise indicated in the request a change of status will occur upon receipt at the Bar office. Please note resigning your membership does not dissolve any disciplinary matters that may be ongoing before the Court.

Can I ever return to the practice of law in Montana if I resign my membership?

To apply for reinstatement if you were once a member of the State Bar but resigned your membership, you must petition the Montana Supreme Court using the required petition form and may be required to submit to a character and fitness investigation, supply the supporting documentation, and pay the application fee. Unless otherwise ordered by the Supreme Court, resigned members will not be required to sit for any portion of the bar examination. (Section 1(b)(3) Rules for Admission to the Bar of Montana) You are also required to fulfill the same CLE requirements as inactive members requesting transfer to active status. (Rules for Continuing Legal Education, Rule 14) The original petition along with 2 copies must be submitted to the Montana Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 203003, Helena, MT 59620. We also request an additional copy be sent to the State Bar office at P.O. Box 577, Helena, MT 59624.

How do I transfer to Active, Inactive or Senior if I am on a Judicial status?

A judicial member may change his or her status to that of an active, inactive or senior member by filing with the State Bar a written request and by paying the applicable dues, fees and assessments for that year.

How do I become a member of the Paralegal Section of the State Bar?

Membership to the Section shall be granted to those eligible persons who have filed an application for membership as provided from the State Bar and who have paid the applicable Section dues. All Section members must be Montana residents. Section membership will exclude any non-attorney who provides any type of legal services directly to the public without the supervision of an attorney. [Paralegal Section By-Laws-Article II,§2.1 Membership] Apply for Paralegal Section Membership through the online store.

What if I'm a suspended member?

Please contact the State Bar office (406) 442-7660 or jdiveley@montanabar.org to determine reinstatement requirements.