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FAQs

D.C. Bar License

What are the D.C. Bar license fees?

License fees for fiscal year 2021-2022 are $320 for Active members, $199 for Inactive members, and $150 for Judicial members. See D.C. Bar Bylaws Article III, Section 1(a)(1).

What are the deadlines for the D.C. Bar License?

In compliance with Article III, Section 8, D.C. Bar License renewals are due and payable on July 1.  Members must remit their completed registration and payment by July 15 to avoid a late fee. If your license renewal is not postmarked and/or received by September 30, your membership will automatically be administratively suspended for nonpayment. See D.C. Bar Bylaws Article III, Section 1(a)(1) for current license fee amounts.

How and when are the Bar’s annual license renewal notices sent?

Effective May 1, 2020, the D.C. Bar will no longer mail paper invoices for the collection of license fees.  All notifications will be sent to the member’s primary email address on record. If you do not see notifications on/after May 1, please be sure to check your spam/junk folders.  Contact Member Services if messages are not being received.

What is the D.C. Bar’s fiscal year?

The D.C. Bar’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30 each year.

When must my license renewal fee be remitted?

License renewal fees for the fiscal year are due and payable on July 1. Members must remit their payments by July 15 to avoid a late fee.

How can I pay my license fee?

The fastest and most efficient way to submit payment is through your online member account. We accept all major credit/debit cards and ACH (electronic checks). Cash is not accepted for payment. Members may also make payment by phone by contacting Member Services at 202-626-3475.

When submitting payment, members may also update their member profiles, join a Community, and contribute to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center.

There is a 2.7% surcharge for all credit card payments. You may avoid this fee by utilizing the ACH (electronic check) option, which is FREE.

Printable invoices are available through your online member account for members who wish to mail check payments. Do not mail payments to D.C. Bar Headquarters.

Checks should be made payable to the “D.C. Bar” and mailed to:

D.C. Bar
PO Box 79834
Baltimore, MD 21279-0834

A returned item fee in the amount of $25 will be assessed for rejected check and ACH payments.

Who do I make my check payable to?

Checks should be made payable to the “D.C. Bar”.

Do not mail payments to D.C. Bar Headquarters. Check payments should be mailed to:

D.C. Bar
PO Box 79834
Baltimore, MD 21279-0834

A returned item fee in the amount of $25 will be assessed for rejected check payments.

When is my license fee considered late?

License renewal fees are late if postmarked and/or received after July 15. Members who pay after that date must include a $50 late fee. Payments must be postmarked by September 30 to avoid automatic suspension of membership. Individuals administratively suspended for nonpayment of license fees and/or late fee shall not be entitled to practice law in the District of Columbia during the period of such suspension.

If I am suspended for nonpayment of the license fee or late fee, how can I secure reinstatement?

If you wish to be reinstated, you must submit the Reinstatement Request Form to D.C. Bar Member Services that includes payment of the current year license fees for your desired status and a $280 reinstatement fee. The form includes a statement that you are not suspended, temporarily suspended, or disbarred by any disciplinary authority. If you are suspended for five years or more and seek reinstatement into the Bar, you will be required to complete the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice. Suspension procedures are described in D.C. Bar Rule II, Section 6 and D.C. Bar Bylaw Article III, Section 2(a). The names of all suspended members are transmitted to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

If you were disbarred or suspended with a fitness requirement, you must file a petition for reinstatement and a reinstatement questionnaire with the Board of Professional Responsibility/Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Click here to access the forms.

Are reduced rates available for government employees or members of the military?

There are currently no reduced rates available for these groups.

Does the Bar waive license fees or late fees for financial hardship?

Currently, the Bar does not have a waiver program in place for financial hardships. If you are unable to pay your active status license fees and are not actively practicing law within the District of Columbia, you may consider changing your membership status to Inactive.  Otherwise, retired-inactive status and resignation are available to those that qualify. Click for an explanation of the membership classes available. To further discuss your options, please contact Member Services at 202-626-3475.

The registration statement has three member types: Active, Inactive, and Judicial. What are the differences?

Active membership is required for members who practice or hold themselves out as licensed to practice in the District of Columbia. Only active members are eligible to vote in Bar elections.

Inactive membership is available for members who are eligible for membership but do not hold themselves out as licensed to practice in the District of Columbia. It maintains your record on file with the Bar should you decide in the future to practice law in the District of Columbia.

Judicial membership is available to judges of courts of record; full-time court commissioners; U.S. bankruptcy judges; U.S. magistrate judges; other persons who perform a judicial function on an exclusive basis, in an official capacity created by federal or state statute, or by administrative agency rule; and retired judges who are eligible for temporary judicial assignments and are not engaged in the practice of law. If a member’s terms and conditions of employment require that he or she be eligible to practice law, the member may choose to be an active member.

Click here to view classes of membership.

What status should I choose? Can you advise me?

Although the Bar staff cannot advise you on what status to elect, we recommend you consult the appropriate D.C. Court of Appeals rules, particularly Rule 49 and commentary on the practice of law in the District of Columbia.

How do I change my status?

You may change your D.C. Bar membership status at any time.

If you have already paid license fees for the current fiscal year, you must complete the Status Change Request Form and remit payment of any additional amounts due as indicated on the form. The form may be requested of and submitted to Member Services via email to [email protected], fax 866-550-9331.

If you have not paid your annual license fees for the current fiscal year, you may select your desired status during your annual renewal by contacting our Member Service Center by phone at 202-626-3475.

Members wishing to return to Active status after being in any other status for five years or more are also required to complete the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice before the change can take effect.  Members who decide to change status from Active to Inactive or Judicial after having paid their annual license fees do not receive a refund.

Does the D.C. Bar offer a disabled status?

Yes. The Bar does offer a disabled member status as a retired-inactive member. To qualify for this status, you must submit proof of a disability from a physician, along with the completed Retired-Inactive Request Form.

I am retired but would like to continue receiving D.C. Bar materials. How do I switch to retired-inactive status?

The D.C. Bar offers a retired-inactive status for two categories of members: members who have been active for at least five years or inactive/judicial for 10 years, engaged in the practice of law in the District of Columbia or elsewhere for a total of 25 years, and retired from the practice of law; and members who are totally disabled and are thus unable to practice. A member may avoid payment of the license fee for the current fiscal year by submitting the retired-inactive status form on or before September 30 of the fiscal year. Download the Retired-Inactive Request Form.

If I elect retired-inactive status, may I later elect to return to Active, Inactive, or Judicial status?

Yes, but you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $100 plus the current year license fees to return to Active, Inactive, or Judicial status.

Additionally, if you have held Retired status for five years or more and wish to be reinstated as an Active member, you will be required to complete the Mandatory Course. See D.C. Bar Bylaws, Article III Section 4.

How do I resign from the D.C. Bar?

You may voluntarily resign or withdraw your membership by submitting the required Request for Resignation form. To submit a request for resignation, you must currently be in good standing with the D.C. Bar (i.e., not suspended). Under the Rules Governing the Bar, a resignation cannot take effect until approved by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. This review process requires a minimum of 30 days. During this review period you are still considered a member of the Bar and must remain in good standing. If you intend to resign during the renewal period, your application for resignation must be received no later than August 30th. Members submitting resignation requests after this date are responsible for payment of all fees associated with the license renewal to avoid an administrative suspension. License fees are not refunded upon resignation.

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