MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathleen Beitiks   415-538-2440

San Francisco, February 23, 2010 — A committee of the State Bar Board of Governors has voted to extend the grace period for payment of 2010 bar dues. The legal education compliance deadline for MCLE Group 1 also has been extended to March 30.

Penalties for nonpayment of dues would not attach until March 31. Penalties for noncompliance with minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements also will not take effect until the same date.

After vetoing the bar's fee bill in October, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a later bill in January, authorizing collection of the same fees - $410 for active lawyers and $125 for inactive members.

The dues payment deadline was moved from Feb. 1 to March 1. At the same time, the MCLE compliance deadline for members of Group 1 - those whose last names begin with A-G - remained Feb. 1.

However, due to confusion over the deadlines and the late mailing of bills, it was decided to offer a grace period - through March 30 - before assessing any penalties.

Active attorneys who have not paid their fees by March 30 will be penalized $100 and inactive lawyers who pay late will owe an additional $30. Those who miss the MCLE deadline will be penalized $75.

Failure to pay dues or comply with continuing education requirements can result in suspension from practice.

Attorneys can contact the Member Services Center, 1-888-800-3400, for more information.

Founded in 1927 by the state legislature, The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. In February 2010, membership reached more than 225,000.