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FAQs

About D.C. Bar

What is the D.C. Bar?

The District of Columbia Bar (D.C. Bar) is an official arm of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and is responsible for licensing and disciplining attorneys who have been admitted to practice by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Attorneys must be licensed by the D.C. Bar to practice law in the District of Columbia.  Lawyers admitted to practice in D.C. must register and pay dues to the D.C. Bar.

To learn more about the D.C. Bar’s mission, please go to www.dcbar.org/about-the-bar/who-we-are/mission.cfm.

How can I join a D.C. Bar committee?

Appointments to D.C. Bar Standing Committees are made in the fall or spring.

To apply to be a member of other committees, please watch for vacancy and application announcements on the D.C. Bar website and social media platforms.

How does the Executive Office support the D.C. Bar and its members?

The Executive Office of the D.C. Bar:

  • Supervises and leads the staff of the D.C. Bar;
  • Provides support and general oversight of committees, task forces, annual awards, Mandatory Course compliance, and annual D.C. Bar elections;
  • Facilitates the development and execution of the D.C. Bar’s 5-Year Strategic Plan;
  • Liaises with local and federal D.C. Courts;
  • Supports initiatives and relations between D.C. Bar, volunteers, and voluntary bar associations;
  • Serves as the Bar’s ambassador to domestic and international delegations; and
  • Supports the D.C. Bar general and outside counsel.

How does D.C. Bar engage with voluntary/local bars?

The D.C. Bar encourages the formation and activities of volunteer bar associations.  In addition to hosting monthly meetings of the leadership of the voluntary bar associations, the D.C. Bar cosponsors programs with the voluntary bars.  For more information about voluntary bars, click here.

Is it possible to reserve a meeting room at the Bar?

Yes. Please contact the D.C. Bar at 202-737-4700 and request to speak with a Facilities staff member.

Becoming a D.C. Bar Member – New Admissions

How can I check on the status of my application?

Please contact the District of Columbia Court of Appeals’ Committee on Admissions by phone at 202-879-2710, or by email at [email protected]. It is located at 430 E Street NW, Room 123, Washington, DC 20001. 

How do I become a D.C. Bar member?

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals’ Committee on Admissions reviews all applications for admission to the District of Columbia Bar. To become a member, whether by exam, motion, or special legal consultant, visit the Committee on Admissions of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for application information. The Law School Certification form must be filled out and signed by your law school’s dean or registrar. Learn more about the different classes of membership at the D.C. Bar.

Do you have reciprocity with my state? Where can I find information?

The Committee on Admissions reviews all applications for admission to the District of Columbia Bar. See D.C. App. Rule 46. For further information, please contact the Committee on Admissions by phone at 202-879-2710 or by email at [email protected] or visit their office at 430 E Street NW, Room 123, Washington, DC 20001.

How do I obtain a duplicate copy of my original application?

Please contact the Committee on Admissions by phone at 202-879-2710 or by email at [email protected]. It is located at 430 E Street NW, Room 123, Washington, DC 20001.

I was recently sworn into the D.C. Bar. When can I expect to receive my Bar number?

You will receive a Bar number no more than 30 days after the submission of your initial registration statement. Your Bar number is listed on the main page of your D.C. Bar online account once logged in. You will also receive an invoice to your primary address on record, as specified on the registration statement that lists your Bar number under “Member Number.” Additionally, you will receive a Bar card with your Bar number. If you provided an email address on your registration statement, you should receive an email from the D.C. Bar with your Bar number and information on your new member account.

I was recently sworn into the D.C. Bar and paid my license fees for the year. So, why am I receiving another invoice?

As a new member, you received your first annual license fee invoice within a month of your admission, which was payable upon receipt. Annual license fees are based on a fiscal year, July 1 to June 30, not a calendar year. Therefore, it is possible for a member to receive two different invoices in one calendar year for two separate fiscal years depending upon when you were admitted to the D.C. Bar.

Members are invoiced by the D.C. Bar for annual license fees, according to Bylaw, Article III Section 1, which states: Any person who is sworn into the Bar between July 1 and December 31 inclusive shall pay a full year’s license fees; those members who are sworn in between January 1 and April 30 inclusive shall pay one-half the annual license fees. Any member who is sworn in after April 30 shall not be required to pay any license fees until the following fiscal year.

To further discuss this matter, please contact Member Services at 202-626-3475 or email [email protected].

How do I obtain an Engraved Wall Certificate?

You can request an Engraved Wall Certificate by completing the D.C. Courts of Appeals Application for Engraved Wall Certificate Form. This application must be typewritten and include a $40 cashier’s check, certified check, or money order payable to “Clerk, D.C. Court of Appeals.” This application may be submitted at any time after you receive your Bar number. Please mail form and fee to:

Engraved Certificate Office

D.C. Courts of Appeals/Committee on Admissions
430 E Street NW – Room 123
Washington, DC 20001

Certificate Concerning Discipline

How do I obtain a Certificate Concerning Discipline?

You can request a Certificate Concerning Discipline in writing from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which is located at 515 Fifth Street N.W., Building A, Room 117, Washington, DC 20001. Their phone number is 202-638-1501. You may submit the completed form and enclose a check or money order (NO CASH) payable to “D.C. Bar” in the amount of $25 and a self-addressed, postage-prepaid envelope. You must provide your D.C. Bar number and your request affirmed before a Notary Public.

Certificate of Good Standing

How do I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?

The D.C. Bar now offers online order and fulfillment of Certificates of Good Standing. Click here to order your certificate (login required). Members can receive their certificates immediately via email or select from a variety of processing times for hard-copy certificates.

Why are Certificates of Good Standing being processed by the D.C. Bar rather than the Committee on Admissions?

We field many calls in D.C. Bar Membership asking about Certificates of Good Standing, and as the Committee on Admissions already uses our database for the information it utilizes for the certificates, centralizing the process makes the most sense for members and staff alike.

How much is a Certificate of Good Standing?

Obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing costs $25. The process is completely online and takes a few minutes. Members do not need to visit the Bar in person or pay a courier.  Click here to place your order today.
The cost of the Certificate of Good Standing covers the technology costs of the transition to an online-only system and is in line with the prices for Certificates of Good Standing in other jurisdictions (ranging from $1 to $50). 
 

Can I keep requesting my Certificate of Good Standing in person?

Effective July 1, 2019, the D.C. Bar no longer accepts certificate requests submitted in person. 

Who is eligible to receive a Certificate of Good Standing?

Active, Inactive, and Judicial members of the Bar who are in good standing with the Bar are able to receive a certificate stating their status. If a member has retired, resigned, or been suspended, they are unable to receive a Certificate of Good Standing.

How can I find out if I am in good standing?

You can utilize our Find a Member tool on the D.C. Bar website to view your standing with the Bar. Alternatively, you can log into your D.C. Bar member account and check your status on your account. If you require further assistance, you may call 202-626-3475 to reach D.C. Bar Member Services, and we will be happy to assist you any weekday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. except for the 1–2 p.m. lunch hour.

Can you make an exception and fulfill my mailed request for a Certificate of Good Standing?

Mailed requests are no longer accepted. Any mailed requests that are received will be returned to the sender.

How do I get extra copies of my Certificate of Good Standing?

Additional certificates will be processed for a fee of $5 for each copy. You can add additional copies to your order during checkout. 

What if I submit a request for a Certificate of Good Standing, and then want to change the processing time? Can I submit a second request and cancel the request I previously submitted?

Due to the number of requests we receive, all additional requests will be treated as new requests. Each request will be processed separately, and the applicable processing time will be applied. All Certificate of Good Standing orders are non-refundable.

Who is eligible for a Next-Day Request?

Members with mailing addresses within the contiguous United States can receive a Certificate of Good Standing via FedEx Priority Overnight delivery. Requests for shipping to U.S. territories or international addresses will be mailed via standard mail on the same day you place your order. 

I want my certificate mailed to a different address than my primary address on file. How do I change my shipping address?

If you would like your Certificate of Good Standing mailed to an alternate address, you can indicate your alternate address during checkout. If you placed an order for a regular hard-copy certificate and forgot to change your mailing address, please call 202-626-3475 by noon the day after you place your order to make your request.

How will I know my certificate has been mailed? Can I get an estimated mailing time for my certificate?

You will receive two emails to your primary email address on file for your records: a receipt of your purchase, as well as a confirmation email once the certificate is mailed. Tracking numbers are available for next-day orders only.

I need to order Certificates of Good Standing for multiple attorneys. Is there a way to place one order for multiple members?

Certificates of Good Standing are only able to be purchased by using an individual member account.

Clients’ Security Fund

What is the Clients’ Security Fund?

The Clients’ Security Fund (CSF) reimburses clients up to a limit of $100,000 for losses caused by the dishonest conduct of members of the D.C. Bar. Learn more.

What does “dishonest conduct” mean?

The words “dishonest conduct” basically mean theft and include wrongful acts committed by a lawyer, such as embezzlement or the wrongful taking or conversion of money, property, or other things of value. “Dishonest conduct” does not include the negligent, inadequate, or ineffective performance of services.

What are the requirements for being considered for reimbursement?

First, the client’s loss must have been caused by the dishonest conduct of a member of the D.C. Bar. Second, the D.C. Bar member must have represented the claimant as an attorney or in another fiduciary capacity. Third, the client must have used all other available ways to recover the loss, including reasonable attempts to obtain payment from the lawyer by demand, insurance, or lawsuit.

How do I file a claim with the Clients’ Security Fund?

Call the D.C. Bar at 202-780-2772, to speak to the Bar’s administrator for the Fund. If the general circumstances of your loss meet the Fund’s guidelines, an application for reimbursement will be sent to you.

How does the process work?

You will receive a detailed application for reimbursement, which gives you an opportunity to describe the circumstances that resulted in financial loss. Receipts, copies of court orders, and other documents will be necessary to substantiate the facts in your application. One of the Fund’s volunteer Trustees will be assigned to your case. Generally, the final disposition takes about six months—depending upon the complexity of the situation involved. You will receive written notice about the disposition of your case. The Trustees’ decision is final.

Can I attend the meeting when the Trustees discuss my case?

Clients are not usually in attendance. However, the Trustees may determine that your presence would be necessary to assist in considering the claim.

Do I need an attorney to represent me?

No.

What can I do to help my case?

The client should submit with the application the following documents:

  1. proof of the loss alleged in the claim;
  2. evidence of an attorney/client or other fiduciary relationship;
  3. records of the efforts made to recover the loss, including possible court action; and
  4. information showing that the attorney is deceased, disciplined, or declared mentally incompetent.

Does the client have the right to be reimbursed by the Fund?

There is no absolute right to reimbursement. The circumstances of each individual case will determine if the case meets the rules of the Fund. Certain kinds of losses—such as those resulting from negligence or other malpractice—may not be reimbursed. The Clients’ Security Fund is to be viewed as a Fund of last resort.

By what other means might I obtain relief?

If you believe that your attorney provided negligent, ineffective, or inadequate representation, you may contact the Office of Disciplinary Counsel at 202-638-1501. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel serves as the Bar’s disciplinary arm. If you believe that your loss resulted from excessive fees, or misunderstanding of what fees should be paid for given services, you should contact the Bar’s Attorney/Client Arbitration Board at 202-780-2779.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

How do I register for a course?

You may register for any D.C. Bar CLE course at http://www.dcbar.org, or you may call us at 202-626-3488 to make payment with a credit card.

How do I know if a course is accredited in my jurisdiction?

All D.C. Bar CLE courses, in all formats, are accredited in every jurisdiction with MCLE requirements.  In the rare instance that we do not receive accreditation for a course, we will note it in the course description.

Can I get my course or event CLE-accredited for the District of Columbia?

The District of Columbia Bar has no mandatory continuing legal education requirements at this time, which also means that we have no CLE accreditation body and do not accredit courses. We do not certify CLE providers or keep records of our members’ attendance at other providers’ CLE courses for the same reason. While the D.C. Bar requires members to maintain their legal competence, we do not specify the means and do not require that attorneys submit attendance documentation from any courses they attend.

How do I check on the status of my CLE credits and/or Certificate of Attendance?

We process MCLE credits based on the date that you complete the course.  All credits are submitted to your jurisdiction within 30 days of your course completion date. However, it may take longer for a state bar to post the credits to your record. 

You may always check on the status of your MCLE credit by sending an email to [email protected] with your full name, course name and date, jurisdiction(s) for which you are seeking credit, and course format (i.e., in-person, webinar, or on-demand).

How do I access a purchased webinar or on-demand course?

Once you purchase the course, you will receive an email confirmation letter with detailed instructions.  Please note that our webinars are streamed live via the Zoom platform.

What devices may I use to view webinars or on-demand courses?

Our on-demand courses are viewable across all platforms and devices, including tablets, smartphones, and iPads. The screen size will vary depending on what device you use.

Must I complete the course in one sitting?

No. You may rewind, pause, or stop the program to complete it at a later time. We encourage you to finish one section in one sitting. You will not be able to fast forward the presentation beyond the point that you have already completed.

What if I want to ask a speaker a question or have a substantive course question?

During a live webinar, you may ask questions in the Q&A interface.  If you have any substantive questions about an on-demand course, you may email us at [email protected]. We will share your question with faculty and respond to you as quickly as possible.

Are there any course materials?

Substantive written course materials are part of every D.C. Bar CLE course. All materials are available in a PDF format. You may find these materials in the tab labeled “Course Materials.”  Generally, all materials are available as fully searchable, printable PDF files.

If I have a technical problem with a live webinar, what do I do?

If you are having a problem viewing a live webinar, let us know in the Q&A interface, email us at [email protected], or please call us at 202-626-3488.  We will work with you to resolve the technical issue.

What do I need to do to get MCLE credit for webinars and on-demand courses?

You must watch and listen to the presentation to find the codes we inserted at random points. The codes will appear on the bottom of the video screen. CLE staff will repeat the codes.  Please write down the codes.  Once the course concludes, you must take a quiz to identify the codes.

If you are taking a webinar, you will receive instructions via email on how to submit for a credit at the conclusion of the course.

If you are taking an on-demand course, you will receive an email notification once you have submitted your quiz and evaluation.  The CLE staff will also receive a copy of this notification and will move forward in processing your CLE credit.  If you do NOT receive this email notification, you MUST email [email protected] with the codes and the name of the course you took so that we may move forward in processing your CLE credit.

Do I need to print out my Certificate of Attendance?

Yes. When you have completed the course, taken the quiz, and submitted the evaluation, you will have access to your electronic Certificate of Attendance. Most states require you to keep the Certificate of Attendance for your records.  Accordingly, we recommend you print the certificate, or retain it electronically.

Why do I need to fill out an evaluation?

The evaluations are short, and we find them incredibly valuable in helping us improve our service to you.  Additionally, many accrediting bodies require providers to evaluate courses.

Are the course materials available for sale?

Electronic materials (in PDF files) are available for purchase for most courses.  You may purchase these materials for $40 if you are a D.C. Bar member, and $50 if you are a non-member.  You may purchase course materials by emailing us at [email protected] or calling us at 202-626-3488.

How do I contact the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) department?

You may email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.  You may also call us at 202-626-3488 and we would be happy to speak with you. The D.C. Bar is located at 901 4th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.

COVID-19 Impact on D.C. Bar Services

COVID-19 impact on the delivery of the Certificate of Good Standing

Acting with an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our staff, Member Services has transitioned to remote availability only effective March 13, 2020. During this time, the D.C. Bar will only accept requests for electronic Certificates of Good Standing and have suspended production of all printed Certificate orders. Orders for the electronic delivery Certificate should still be placed online by logging into your member account.

Electronic delivery orders are automatically generated and sent in PDF format via email within minutes.  The documents may also be downloaded for up to 30 days after the order is placed by logging into your D.C. Bar member account online.

If you require assistance logging into your account or have any questions, contact Member Services via email at [email protected] or call 202-626-3475.

We value your membership and thank you for your understanding.

D.C. Bar Communities

What are the Communities and how are they organized?

The Communities are the voluntary arm of the D.C. Bar. There are 21 Communities designed to provide member benefits and opportunities to grow your network while maintaining focus on practice-specific career development. They are led by the Communities Committee, which oversees the operation of the D.C. Bar Communities Program by facilitating Communities-wide programming and content, volunteer opportunities, and member engagement initiatives. Each Community (except the Law Student Community) is led by a five-member steering committee made up of elected members. These leaders work to develop and implement content programs, networking opportunities, and other events for their members.

How can I learn more about D.C. Bar Communities?

To learn more about D.C. Bar Communities, please visit http://www.dcbar.org/communities or contact [email protected].

How do I join the D.C. Bar Communities?

You may join online today or by phone at 202-626-3463.

What are the membership benefits as a Community member?

The Communities experience provides valuable benefits and opportunities to grow your network while maintaining focus on practice-specific career development.

There are two membership options:  

  • Standard membership, $79 annually. Our Standard membership is perfect for members who prefer to engage remotely, highlighting a wide range of virtual programming. You can join up to three Communities and receive free registrations, discounts on CLE offerings, and the D.C. Practice Manual.
  • Premium membership, $120 annually. Our new Premium membership is better suited for members who value flexibility, offering more flexible options for registration and types of attendance. Join up to three Communities and you will receive free registrations, greater discounts on CLE offerings, and the D.C. Practice Manual.

Compare the two membership benefits and learn more by clicking here.

 

As someone who is not a D.C. Bar member, could I join Communities?

Yes, you do not have to be a D.C. Bar member to join Communities. There is a slightly higher fee for those who are not Bar members who wish to join D.C. Bar Communities. The membership dues for D.C. Bar members is $79; the subscriber fee for other individuals is $129. If you have not already done so, you will need to create an account. Once you have established an account, you can join the Communities through your profile. You can also contact [email protected] for more information and pricing.

How does my participation in the Communities program relate to D.C. Bar membership?

The Communities Program is a voluntary membership of the Bar and not funded or supported by mandatory Bar dues. Your payment of Communities membership dues will give you the opportunity to join and/or renew up to three Communities in practice areas that you identify. There are 21 Communities designed to provide member benefits and opportunities to grow your network while maintaining focus on practice-specific career development. Participation in the Communities program does not confer membership in the D.C. Bar.  If you join a Community without first being a member of the Bar, you join as a subscriber rather than as a member. Subscribers are entitled to the same notice of upcoming events and discounts that are afforded to members.  However, subscribers are not permitted to serve on Community steering committees, vote in Communities elections, or chair Community program subcommittees. Subscribers ARE NOT licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.

How do I register for my Community programs?

You may register for any D.C. Bar Community program at our Events page, or you may call us at 202-626-3463 to make payment with a credit card. If you have questions about registration, you can email [email protected].

Do the Communities have a policy on use of images obtained at its events?

Click here to read our Multimedia Disclaimer.

How do I purchase the CLE passport at a discount?

You can contact the CLE Department directly and they will handle your purchase of the passport with the eligible rate for a Community member discount.  

I joined Communities because of a great series. Will I be able to sign up for these for free?

To register for series programming for free as a Communities member, you would need to register during the Community member registration early bird period prior to the program, based on space availability. To get free access to series programming, a member can sign up for each event separately through the individual early bird registration process when it becomes available online. To register for all series sessions in a bundle, a fee will apply. 

If I were to join and/or renew three Communities, does that mean that I will get more emails?

You would only get emails about the activities in the Communities to which you belong. You may log into your member account to adjust your preferences on email notifications relevant to your Communities.  

How do I cancel my D.C. Bar Communities membership?

To cancel your D.C. Bar Communities membership, please contact the Communities office at [email protected] or 202-626-3463.

Who are the current Community leaders?

You can find Communities Committee and steering committee leadership listed HERE.

How do I join a steering committee?

Steering committee members are elected to three-year terms by the general membership of the Communities. To learn more about running for a position, vist our Communities Elections page. 

How do I contact the Communities?

  • For questions regarding Community membership, leadership, or benefits, email [email protected]

  • For questions regarding Community events, email [email protected]

  • For questions regarding your registration for a Community program, email [email protected]

  • For all general inquiries, call the Community Office main line at 202-626-3463

D.C. Bar General & Communities Elections

When can I vote?

Elections are now closed. The D.C. Bar general and Communities elections are held during the month of May. Voting takes place online only. Communities elections are included on the same ballot as the general election.

Who is eligible to vote in the general election?

Active members in good standing on the member roll as of April 15 of the election year are eligible to vote in the Bar’s general election, or the first business day after April 15 should it fall on a weekend or Bar holiday. 

Who is eligible to vote in the Communities elections?

Any D.C. Bar member who is in good standing (active, inactive, or judicial status) and a member of a Community may vote in that Community’s election.

How do I vote?

Eligible voters will receive an email link to the ballot from an independent vendor administering the D.C. Bar elections. The links will be sent to eligible voters when the elections launch.

Eligible voters can also access the ballot by logging into the D.C. Bar’s website (dcbar.org) with their D.C. Bar member credentials and clicking on the “Vote Now” button within their profiles during the voting period.

Are paper ballots available?

No. Voting takes place exclusively online. No paper ballots will be made available.

Additional information about the general election and Communities elections will be posted on the Bar’s website closer to the election period.

D.C. Bar License

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

In compliance with Article III, Section 8, D.C. Bar License renewals for fiscal year 2020–2021 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 cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. We accept electronic checks (ACH) but not cash.

Members may also make payment over the phone by contacting Member Services at 202-626-3475. Please note: credit card payments may only be made online.

Printable invoices are available through your online member account for members who wish to mail check payments. When submitting payment, members may also update their member profiles, join a Community, and/or contribute to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center.

Checks should be made payable to the  “D.C. Bar” and mailed to:
D.C. Bar
P.O. Box 79834
Baltimore, MD 21279-0834

 

 

Who do I make my check payable to?

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

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.

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 current year license fees to return to Active status.

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

You may voluntarily resign or withdraw your membership by submitting the official Resignation Request Form. In order to resign, you must currently be in good standing with the D.C. Bar (i.e., not suspended). If you intended to resign during the renewal period, your resignation form must be received by August 30 to avoid suspension. Under the Rules Governing the Bar, a resignation cannot take effect until it is accepted by the Secretary of the Bar and after consultation with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The review process takes a minimum of 30 days.  All members resigning after this date are responsible for payment of the license fee associated with their license renewal. Once the form has been received by our office, please allow a minimum of 30 days before the result is delivered to you. The completed form may be submitted either by email at [email protected] or fax to 866-550-9331. License fees are not refunded upon resignation.

D.C. Connect

What is D.C. Connect?

D.C. Connect is our current solution for older listservs. It is an integrated platform that allows users to connect directly and share information with fellow Community members.

How can I control the frequency and format of emails I receive?

Navigate to your profile and click on the “My Account” tab. Choose “Community Notifications” from the drop-down menu. On that page, there are subscription options: Real Time, Daily Digest, No Email.

For each Community, you have the following delivery options:

  • Real Time: sends an email every time a new message is posted.
  • Daily Digest: sends one email to you each day, consolidating all posts from the previous day.
  • No Email: allows you to be part of the group without having emails sent to you. You can still post and read others’ messages by logging into the Community site.

Can I use D.C. Connect as a listserv?

Yes! You can post and reply to messages directly from your email. 
 

How do I log in to D.C. Connect?

Go to connect.dcbar.org and click the red “Sign In” button in the top right corner. You will be redirected to log in on the D.C. Bar website with your usual credentials. You will then be redirected back to D.C. Connect. 

What kind of things can I post?

  • Networking: Introduce yourself and inspire dialogue between members
  • Share a Resource or Article of Interest
  • Ask a Question or Share Advice
  • Share Leadership/Volunteer Opportunities
  • Share Job Postings
  • Remind Members of Upcoming Events

How do I control what information is visible in my profile?

Navigate to your profile page, then select the “My Account” tab and choose “Privacy Settings” from the drop-down menu. This will let you control what information is visible to whom.  After you’ve made changes, click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page. 

How do I start a new discussion thread?

You can post a new discussion either from D.C. Bar Connect, or directly from your email. To post a discussion from the Connect website, go to “Participate” > “Post a message.” To post directly from your email without having to log in, send an email to your Community’s direct email address. 

How do I respond to other’s messages?

If you receive digest emails from your Community, you can reply to the post directly from your inbox by clicking “Reply to Group” or “Reply to Sender” at the top of the digest. You can also reply from the Connect website by clicking the “Reply” button at the top of the post. 

How do I post to D.C. Connect from my email?

Open a new email using your primary email address (the one you use to sign into the D.C. Bar website).

  1. Fill in your subject line and body of the email like you normally would
  2. Send the email to a Community that you are a member of using the following email addresses
    NOTE: Posts will only go through if you are a member of that Community, and if you are sending the email from your primary email address that the D.C. Bar has on file.

Administrative Law and Agency Practice: [email protected] 

Antitrust and Consumer Law: [email protected]

Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law: [email protected]

Corporation, Finance and Securities Law: [email protected]

Criminal Law and Individual Rights: [email protected]

District of Columbia Affairs: [email protected]

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources: [email protected]

Estates, Trusts and Probate Law: [email protected]

Family Law: [email protected]

Government Contracts: [email protected]

Health Law: [email protected]

Intellectual Property Law: [email protected]

International Law: [email protected]

Labor and Employment Law: [email protected]

Law Practice Management: [email protected]

Law Student: [email protected]

Litigation: [email protected]

Public Interest and Courts: [email protected]

Real Estate, Housing and Land Use: [email protected]

Taxation: [email protected]

Tort Law: [email protected]

Disciplinary Complaints and Disputes for Lawyer

How do I file for reinstatement?

If you are not required to prove fitness or satisfy other terms prior to reinstatement (i.e., restitution or some other condition imposed by the Court), please contact the D.C. Bar Membership department. If you were disbarred or suspended with a fitness requirement, you must file a petition for reinstatement and a reinstatement questionnaire (found in the forms and documents section). See Board Rule 9.1.

Can I e-file with the Board Office?

No, we currently do not have an e-filing system. All filings should be made in hard copy, including one with an original signature.  Please consult the Board Rules to see additional requirements for each type of filing.

How do I file a complaint against an attorney?

Complaints must be filed, in writing, with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. A complaint form can be found under the How to File a Complaint section.

Where can I find the Board Rules?

The Board Rules can be found under the Board on Professional Responsibility section.

How can I volunteer in the disciplinary system?

The Board is currently recruiting attorneys and members of the public to be considered for appointment to Hearing Committees.  For more information, or to apply to be a Hearing Committee Member, please contact the Office of the Executive Attorney. 

Can I listen to a Hearing or Oral Argument?

Oral arguments before the Board are streamed. Oral arguments and hearings are open to the public. You can find the hearing and oral argument schedules under the calendar in the Board on Professional Responsibility section. The schedule can change at the last minute, so we suggest calling the Office of the Executive Attorney ahead of time for the most up-to-date information. All matters, unless otherwise noted, are held in Courtroom II (Room 226) in the D.C. Court of Appeals building. For access to the oral argument schedule where live streaming is available, click here.

Who do I call if I need ethics advice?

The D.C. Bar’s staff includes legal ethics counsel who are available to discuss ethical issues related to the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct.  This service is not affiliated with the discipline system.  For more information, click here.

If I’m not a D.C. lawyer, do I need to be admitted pro hoc vice to represent a lawyer in a disciplinary matter?

Please see the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 23-18.

Disciplinary Complaints and Resources for the Public

What is the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) was created by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to investigate and prosecute complaints of ethical misconduct against lawyers licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia who violate the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC).

The Rules describe a lawyer’s obligation to clients, the courts, and the general public in professional and private dealings. The purpose of this process is to protect the public by disciplining lawyers who violate the ethics rules. Our office cannot consider complaints against judges acting in a judicial capacity.

For additional information, see Purpose and Mission.
 

Can you represent me in court or give me legal advice?

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel cannot represent you, give you any legal advice, or change the outcome of a court decision.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel cannot refer you to an attorney. You may consult the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center to obtain information. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center sponsors a free monthly Advice & Referral Clinic, where you can speak with a lawyer at no charge to determine if you have a legal problem and possibly receive a referral to a legal or other service provider. For clinic locations and times, call the Legal Information Help Line at 202-626-3499.

Free Legal Help 

Contact the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center if you are an individual living in poverty who is at risk of losing your home, your livelihood, or your family. The Center also helps small businesses and community-based nonprofits needing legal assistance.

I am having problems with my attorney. What should I do?

Try to resolve issues with your attorney by communicating your concerns clearly and asking for a response.  Your attorney should clearly explain the fee agreement and scope of representation, keep you aware of developments in your case, and respond to any reasonable requests you may have for information.


If you feel that your problem is the result of poor communication or a misunderstanding between you and the attorney, you should have an open talk with the attorney before you file a complaint.
 

Can you help me contact my attorney?

The D.C. Bar’s Find a Member feature provides the same publicly available contact information for attorneys that we would be able to share with you.  If you are still unable to reach your attorney, you may need to file a complaint with our office.

Is my attorney licensed in the District of Columbia?

The D.C. Bar’s Find a Member feature enables a search of all attorneys licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.  If an attorney is not listed as authorized to practice law and is advising you about D.C. law or representing you in Superior Court, please contact the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Is there a fee for filing a complaint?

No.

Will the attorney know that I have filed a complaint?

If we determine that your complaint should be docketed for investigation because it alleges facts that, if true, would violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, your complaint will be forwarded to the attorney for a response.

When should I file a complaint against an attorney?

If you believe your attorney has violated the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, you should file a written complaint or complete and submit the complaint form (signed and dated) to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel via mail or fax. The form must be properly completed. Along with the complaint form, please submit relevant documents and information, including:

  • Copies of fee or retainer agreements or statements;
  • Copies of letters, faxes, emails, and other correspondence that relates to the subject of the complaint;
  • Copies of legal documents in your possession;
  • Copies of filings or statements received by you from the attorney; and
  • Copies of canceled checks or evidence of any payments made by you to the attorney.

If you do not provide facts and documentation that support your complaint, it may result in either a request for additional information or a dismissal of the complaint.

You do not need to identify any rules you believe that the attorney has violated.  In general, the Rules of Professional Conduct ensure that attorneys provide competent representation, protect the interests of their clients, act fairly, and are honest.

DO NOT SEND US ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS. WE CANNOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR SAFEKEEPING OR RETURN TO YOU.

*The Office of Disciplinary Counsel does not represent you against the attorney or in any ongoing case involving that attorney.

What information should I put in my complaint?

A complaint should contain all information allowing Disciplinary Counsel to understand the problem.  This should include your contact information, the attorney’s contact information, case numbers of underlying court cases, and a description of the problem you are having with the attorney.  Include dates, the nature of the legal matter, and specific information about what you think the attorney did wrong.  Provide as much facts and supporting documents as possible, including the fee agreement, court papers, and letters or notes that you would like us to consider. Send copies. DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS.

What happens after I submit a complaint to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?

Your complaint will be reviewed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to ensure that it falls within the jurisdiction of the office and evaluated to determine if there are issues that form the basis of a disciplinary investigation. If the complaint falls within the office’s jurisdiction, it will be assigned to an attorney to conduct a preliminary inquiry or a disciplinary investigation. The assigned attorney will notify you if they are conducting a preliminary inquiry or if they are undertaking a confidential investigation of your complaint. You will be contacted if additional information is needed.

After the preliminary inquiry or disciplinary investigation is completed, you will receive by mail official notification of the disposition of your complaint. The complaint may be resolved through a review process, which includes one of the following:

  • Dismissal of the complaint;
  • Impose private discipline (diversion agreement);
  • Impose public discipline (informal admonition);
  • File formal disciplinary charges against the attorney. When charges are formally filed by petition, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel has the responsibility for prosecuting the charges before a hearing committee, the Board on Professional Responsibility, and ultimately the D.C. Court of Appeals. The charging document and the attorney response are public and will be posted on the D.C. Bar’s website. If the discipline includes suspension or disbarment, it must be review and approved by the D.C. Court of Appeals. All public discipline is posted on the D.C. Bar’s website.

Can I withdraw my complaint?

No.  You may let us know if you are satisfied with any remedial actions taken by your attorney, but Disciplinary Counsel is still obligated to investigate your complaint.

Will I be notified of the outcome of Disciplinary Counsel’s investigation of my complaint?

Yes.  We may reach out to you for further information, and you will be notified of the outcome of our investigation.

What are the different types of attorney discipline?

Any of the following sanctions may be imposed on an attorney for a disciplinary violation:

  1. Disbarment of the attorney from the practice of law. The attorney is prohibited from practicing law for at least five years and must petition for reinstatement to the bar and prove fitness to resume the practice of law.
  2. Suspension for an appropriate fixed period of time not to exceed three years. The length of time depends on the nature of the misconduct. Any order of suspension may include a requirement that the attorney provide proof of rehabilitation as a condition of reinstatement. In the absence of such a requirement, the attorney may resume practice at the end of the period of suspension.
  3. Censure. The attorney permitted to continue practicing law is publicly censured for misconduct but is permitted to continue practicing law.
  4. Reprimand. The attorney is publicly reprimanded for misconduct but is permitted to continue practicing law.
  5. Informal admonition. The attorney is written a letter of admonition by the Disciplinary Counsel for misconduct but permitted to continue practicing law.
  6. Revocation or suspension of a license to practice as a Special Legal Consultant.
  7. Probation. The Court imposes conditions that are related to the misconduct for not more than three years. Probation may be imposed in lieu of or in addition to any other disciplinary sanction. Any conditions of probation shall be stated in writing in the order imposing probation. The order shall also state whether, and to what extent, the attorney shall be required to notify clients of the probation. The Board by rule shall establish procedures for the supervision of probation. Violation of any condition of probation shall make the attorney subject to revocation of probation and the imposition of any other disciplinary sanction listed in this subsection, but only to the extent stated in the order imposing probation.

Have other complaints been filed against my attorney?

You can look to see whether your attorney has been disciplined.  Disciplinary Counsel is not permitted to disclose whether complaints were filed against an attorney unless they result in public discipline.

Is there a time limit for filing a complaint?

No.  It may be more difficult to investigate a complaint after significant time has passed, but there is no statute of limitations for filing a complaint with Disciplinary Counsel.

What can Disciplinary Counsel do?

Disciplinary Counsel has the authority to investigate complaints against attorneys.  If we believe an attorney has violated their obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct, we can seek to discipline the attorney.

What are things Disciplinary Counsel cannot do?

Disciplinary Counsel cannot:

  • Represent you in any proceeding
  • Give you legal advice 
  • Recommend an attorney
  • Stop other legal proceedings
  • Recover money
  • Force an attorney to do something

Can I call Disciplinary Counsel if I have a question?

Yes.  All complaints need to be in writing, but if you have a question about the process or whether you should file a complaint, please call us at 202-638-1501.

How can I get my money back from an attorney?

If you are unhappy about a legal fee, in addition to contacting our office you may file a fee dispute with the D.C. Bar’s Attorney/Client Arbitration Board.  If you have lost funds due to an attorney’s dishonest conduct, you may be able to seek reimbursement from the D.C. Bar’s Clients’ Security Fund.

What if my attorney is licensed in another jurisdiction?

You can contact similar offices in other jurisdictions.

Confidentiality

Disciplinary Counsel may not publicly disclose that the complaint has been filed. The D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct requires the Disciplinary Counsel to treat complaints as confidential matters until the attorney has been served with a petition instituting formal charges or has agreed to be formally disciplined.

IOLTA Account

Am I required to have an IOLTA account?

Yes, if you receive IOLTA eligible funds. You are not required to have any client trust accounts until you begin to receive trust funds. For example, lawyers who are not in private practice may never receive IOLTA eligible funds. When you begin to receive funds on behalf of clients, such as advance fees or unearned costs, you must maintain either a separate trust account for each client (if the amount is expected to earn interest for the client in excess of the cost of maintaining the account), or an interest bearing common–client or “pooled” trust account to hold the funds of more than one client. Advance fee payments such as flat fees or sums against which an hourly rate will be applied are typically deposited into the D.C. IOLTA account. Absent informed consent from the client, a fee advance from a client must be placed in a trust account. Most firms place these fee advances in a D.C. IOLTA account because the advances are considered either nominal in amount or to be held for a short period of time and therefore any interest earned in an individual trust account would be consumed by the expense of administration. Therefore, if you receive IOLTA eligible funds, you must have a D.C. IOLTA account. If money you receive as a lawyer is for payment of legal services you have already provided, for example, you performed the work, sent a bill and were paid, then you do not need a trust account of any kind.

Are there any exceptions to the new, mandatory IOLTA account rule?

Yes, there are two limited exceptions. Trust funds are not deposited into a D.C. IOLTA when the lawyer is otherwise compliant with the contrary mandates of a tribunal. In other words, if a court order directs the lawyer to place trust funds in an account other than a D.C. IOLTA account, the lawyer must comply. The second exception occurs when the lawyer is participating in and compliant with the IOLTA program of another jurisdiction where the lawyer is licensed and principally practices. For example, if the lawyer is licensed in and principally practices in Maryland, IOLTA eligible funds from D.C. clients can be deposited into the Maryland IOLTA account and the lawyer would not need a D.C. IOLTA account.

Lawyers may seek additional guidance from the D.C. Bar’s legal ethics counsel, at 202-737-4700, ext. 3231 or ext. 3232, or at [email protected].

How do I set up an IOLTA account?

The same financial institution where you have your business (operating) account should be able to help you set it up using the proper forms, but you may choose any financial institution that is on the list of approved financial institutions. The list of approved financial institutions is available from the D.C. Bar Foundation (202-467-3750) or from the Board on Professional Responsibility (202-638-4290). If the person you are dealing with at the financial institution does not know what an IOLTA account is, go to another person, branch, or financial institution, or call the IOLTA program administrator (202-467-3750) or the Practice Management Advisor of the D.C. Bar (202-626-1312) for help.

Where can I find the IOLTA Form?

This is a one–page, 51.80 KB PDF document
Download and save now.
Note: Many banks use this form. However, take the form with you when you open an IOLTA account, then forward it to the D.C. Bar Foundation. Do not send it directly to the Bar or attempt to fill it out online.

Do all of my trust accounts have to be IOLTA accounts?

No, just the common–client trust account to which you deposit client funds of more than one client that are nominal in amount or to be held for a short period of time. Other trust accounts that you may choose to open for a single client ordinarily will not be IOLTA accounts; the client will get all interest on the funds held. Whether to set up a separate trust account rests in the sound judgment of the lawyer (see Rule 1.15, Comment [5]). The separate account is generally set up when the funds are more than “nominal” and/or to be held for longer than a “short” duration, such that the interest earned will not be consumed by the cost of administering the account.

What do the terms “nominal in amount” and “short duration” mean?

These terms are expressly not defined in the Rule, and are left to the lawyer’s sound discretion. Many firms place advance fees from multiple clients into a common–client trust account, knowing that the funds will be removed as earned. Some firms also place settlement funds into a common–client trust account, knowing that the funds will be distributed to the client and other recipients within a few days or weeks. Other lawyers, knowing that they will be receiving large amounts of funds for a client, or must hold funds for weeks or months, decide to open a separate interest-bearing trust account for the benefit of that one client. The client then receives the benefit of the interest earned while those funds are being held by the lawyer. Again, the final determination is left to each lawyer to use sound reason to decide where to place the funds. Comment [5] to Rule 1.15 states in part: “The determination, under paragraph (b), whether trust funds are not expected to earn income in excess of costs, rests in the sound judgment of the lawyer. The lawyer should review trust practices at reasonable intervals to determine whether circumstances require further action with respect to the funds of any client or third party.”

I already have an IOLTA account, but the interest goes to another bar. Do I have to have an IOLTA account for D.C. clients?

It depends upon where you principally practice. When the lawyer is participating in, and compliant with, the trust accounting rules and the IOLTA program of another jurisdiction in which the lawyer is licensed and principally practices, the lawyer is not required to have a D.C. IOLTA account and can place D.C. eligible trust funds into the IOLTA account of the other jurisdiction. However, always check to make sure you are compliant with the IOLTA rules of the jurisdiction in which you principally practice.

Do I need to keep both IOLTAs now that IOLTA is mandatory in the District of Columbia as well as Maryland?

If the clear majority of your income is generated in Maryland, you are considered to principally practice in Maryland and you are not obligated to have a District of Columbia IOLTA. For Maryland IOLTA questions see: www.mlsc.org.

Comment [4] to Rule 1.15 provides lawyers with guidance about how to determine his or her principal place of practice. Lawyers may also seek guidance from the D.C. Bar’s legal ethics counsel, at 202-737-4700, ext. 3231, or ext. 3232, or at [email protected].

How do I contact the IOLTA program if I have questions?

For more information about the IOLTA program, please visit dcbarfoundation.org or contact the IOLTA administrator at the D.C. Bar Foundation at 202-467-3750.

For additional information about client trust accounts or handling client funds, contact the D.C. Bar Practice Management Advisory Service at 202-737-4700, ext. 3212. The Practice Management Advisory Service is a free and confidential service of the District of Columbia Bar to help members with a wide range of practice management issues. For free and confidential assistance with ethical questions, please contact the D.C. Bar’s legal ethics counsel at 202-737-4700, ext. 3231 or 3232.

Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP)

How does the LAP work?

The LAP offers free and confidential clinical services on any issues that cause distress to D.C. Bar members, judges, and current D.C. law students. The problems may be related to work–life balance, career stress, relationships, grief/loss, depression, anxiety, substance use or more.

The services include:

  • Face-to-face clinical assessment, short-term counseling, and referral resources
  • Consultation with concerned others, such as employers, colleagues, or family members
  • Volunteer/peer mentor connection
  • Monitoring

To speak with a LAP counselor or schedule an intake appointment call 202-347-3131 or email [email protected]

If I seek help, is it actually confidential?

Absolutely! Confidentiality and respect for privacy are the foundations of the program. The same therapist–client privilege applies that would for any mental health clinician.

Federal and local law prohibit the disclosure of any information pertaining to program participants, including their identity. The Lawyer Assistance Program will not disclose any information about lawyers, law students, or judges who seek its assistance to the Bar, to any entity affiliated with the Bar, or to anyone else. LAP volunteers (a lawyer in recovery providing peer support to other lawyers) are deemed to have lawyer–client confidentiality under Rule 1.6(i) of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct.

The only exceptions are: (1) to avert a serious, imminent threat to your health or safety or that of another person and (2) to comply with legal obligations such as child abuse and elder abuse. 

What is the LAP’s relationship with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC)?

The LAP is not affiliated in any way with ODC. The LAP is a confidential and separate program from discipline and the offices themselves are separate from ODC, BPR, and the courts. All communications with LAP are completely confidential and will not be disclosed to any person, agency, or organization without the participant’s explicit written authorization.

How can a legal employer take advantage of the Lawyers Assistance Program?

The LAP can be a resource to legal employers in many ways. The LAP offers management consultation and provides guidance and resources when there are concerns about an attorney’s performance or mental health. LAP staff also offer consultation to legal employers and law schools on best practices to encourage well-being. 

The program also offers free educational presentations to firms, judges, nonprofits, law schools, and other related organizations in the D.C. metropolitan area. The goal of the presentations is to raise awareness of LAP services and the impact that mental health, substance use, and well-being issues have on the legal profession. Programs can be standardized or specially designed for your group. Some programs may qualify for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits.

I don’t have an alcohol or drug problem and I’m not depressed. I’m just stressed. Can the LAP help?

The LAP offers clinical services related to any problems that impact well-being, and stress in any realm is worth addressing. The hope is that attorneys seek help proactively before the problem becomes more serious. Chronic stress can lead to significant physical and mental health issues. Often talking to a neutral person, who can help assess the problem and identify strategies and resources, can make a difference. 

No issue is too small. The earlier someone gets help, the better. No lawyer should feel alone in their struggle. Do not hesitate to call us at 202-347-3131 or email at [email protected].

I am worried about a colleague . . . what can I do?

All LAP staff are licensed mental health professionals who will gladly consult with you about what actions, if any, are necessary and appropriate. LAP staff can provide guidance on effective techniques for communicating your concerns as well as resources that may be available for the colleague. Call us at 202-347-3131 to discuss.

 Learn how to provide support. Know the warning signs of suicide

If I seek help while in law school, will it impact my bar admission?

The D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions (COA) does not require applicants to divulge information about treatment or counseling for mental health/addiction issues per se. Your LAP participation will not be reported to the COA. If you have specific questions about the character and fitness questions on the application to the D.C. Bar, please contact us. The ultimate goal of the admissions process is to ensure competence; seeking help for a mental health problem is an argument for competence, not against. Remember, there is nothing more important than your health.

As a reminder, all inquiries with the LAP are strictly confidential under the law. The LAP will NOT disclose any identifying information, without the student’s written permission, to law schools, the D.C. Bar, or anyone else without the student’s explicit permission.

If you have questions about the character and fitness portion of your Bar application, please give us a confidential call at 202-347-3131.

What if I am in crisis?

For a medical or psychiatric emergency, dial 9-1-1. If you are having suicidal thoughts or concerned about someone else committing suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-825.

Mandatory Course

Who must take the Mandatory Course?

There are strict guidelines about who must complete the Mandatory Course.

  1. All new admittees to the D.C. Bar (Active and Inactive)
    • Must be completed within 12 months of admission to be in compliance with the Court Rule
    • Failure to comply within 14 months of admission will result in administrative suspension
  1. Certain Inactive members switching to Active status
    • Holding an Inactive status for five years or more and wishing to switch status to Active
  1. Certain Suspended members
    • Holding a Suspended status for five years or more
  1. Certain Resigned and Retired members
    • Holding a Resigned or Retired status for five years or more and wishing to reinstate to Active status
  1. Judicial members switching to Active status
  1. Any member who has held any combination statuses other than Active (Inactive, Judicial, Inactive/Retired, Suspended) for five years or more

What happens if I do not complete the Mandatory Course before the deadline? (Noncompliance)

  • Suspension from practice of law in the District of Columbia
  • Notice of administrative suspension is sent to the Courts of the District of Columbia
  • You must notify your clients of your suspension
  • You must withdraw your representation in any cases filed in the D.C. Courts
  • If you reinstate, you must pay a reinstatement fee
  • Administrative suspensions become a permanent part of your membership record
  • During the period of administrative suspension, engaging in the practice of law in the District of Columbia is prohibited

What is the curriculum of the Mandatory Course?

While the curriculum may vary slightly for each session, it includes:  

  • D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct 
  • District of Columbia System for Regulation of Attorney Conduct 
  • How to Fulfill Pro Bono Obligations 
  • District of Columbia Court Practice 
  • D.C. Bar Non-Disciplinary Regulatory Programs 
  • District of Columbia Administrative Practice 

You must attend or view the Course in full to receive a Certification of Completion.

Do you have special accommodations for individuals with disabilities?

Pursuant to applicable law, any individual with a disability, or any other individual who requires reasonable accommodations as required by individual circumstances to access the Mandatory Course may request assistance by submitting a written statement to the D.C. Bar, ATTN: Mandatory Course Accommodations, 901 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, or by email to [email protected]. Deadline for receipt of request is at least three business days before registration for the Course.

The Mandatory Course is currently offered as an on-demand video that is divided into three modules that range in length from one to two hours. Members can view all three modules in one sitting or view each one at a different time as long as it is completed within the compliance period. For compliance purposes, there will be randomly displayed codes that attendees will have to capture and provide at the conclusion of the course. For hearing impaired members, we offer closed captioning. For visually impaired members, in lieu of capturing the codes, they will be required to provide a short narrative of each module. For more information, please contact the CLE Program.

What is the MCLE accreditation of the Mandatory Course?

The on-demand Mandatory Course has been approved for 4.0 total CLE credit hours, including 3.0 legal ethics credits.

The in-person Mandatory Course has been approved for 5.0 total CLE credit hours, including 3.5 legal ethics credits.

Please submit your state’s attorney registration/bar number when you access the on-demand Mandatory Course within your D.C. Bar account.

Member Benefits

What are the benefits of being a D.C. Bar Member?

The D.C. Bar does offer a number of membership benefits which can be found here.

Where can an attorney find out more information about D.C. Bar programs and services?

Please go to the Attorneys area.

Where can an attorney find assistance or counseling services?

The D.C. Bar offers a variety of resources to attorneys including guidance on the interpretation of the rules of professional conduct, practice management advice, fee dispute resolution services, and free and confidential lawyer assistance program to assist lawyers, judges, and law students with issues such as mental health, addiction, and stress. These and other resources can be found here.

Member Connection Suite

How do I reserve the Member Connection Suite?

Please send an email to [email protected]. To learn more, please go to Member Connection Suite.

How will I know if my request is confirmed?

After receiving your request form, we will either confirm or deny your request via email. If your request is denied, you will need to submit a new request form for an alternate time.

What amenities are available at the Member Connection Suite?

The Member Connection Suite has coffee, tea, water, Wi-Fi, and printing capabilities.

How do I print documents at the Member Connection Suite?

Guests may print up to 100 pages/month at the Member Connection Suite. Printing instructions are found in each office or cubicle.

Can I bring someone else with me to the office?

If you would like to bring a guest with you into your reserved workspace, prior approval is required. Please send an email to [email protected] with the guest’s name. Upon arrival, the guest will be required to fill out a liability form prior to accessing the workspace.

Is there a receptionist available to assist me?

The D.C. Bar has a receptionist on the 3rd floor to greet guests and clients. While the receptionist will greet you upon arrival and can assist you with any urgent requests, they are not available for food deliveries or any administrative assistance.

Membership Information

How do I report the death of a member of the D.C. Bar?

The D.C. Bar sympathizes with the family, friends, and colleagues of our members who have passed. To report the death of a member, please contact Member Services by phone at 202-626-3475 or email to [email protected]. In order to appropriately update the member profile, we request you to provide the member’s date of passing. In some instances, you may also be asked to provide a copy of the death certificate or where the obituary is located.

How will I get my license renewal form if I have relocated?

Effective May 1, 2020, license renewal invoices will no longer be mailed.  However, members are required by Rule II, Section 2, of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the District of Columbia Bar to update their address information within 30 days of any change. A U.S. Postal Service forwarding notice sent to the Bar is not a substitute for the member’s explicit written notice.

Can I give you my change of address over the phone?

Yes, by contacting Member Services at 202-626-3475. Changes also can be submitted online, or via email at [email protected].

How do I change my name in the District of Columbia Bar records?

In order to change your name on our official Bar records, you must complete the Change of Name Request Form. Your notarized form may be returned via email to [email protected] or fax to 866-550-9331.

Any updates to your contact information should be included with this request. A new Bar card will be mailed to reflect the name change.

How do I get my Bar membership card replaced?

Members who need their D.C. Bar membership card replaced should contact Member Services at 202-626-3475 or at [email protected] with a request and the preferred mailing address. There is no fee for the replacement of D.C. Bar membership cards.

If I am a member of the D.C. Bar, does this automatically mean that I am a member of the U.S. District Court?

No. If you want to become a member of the U.S. District Court, information on the requirements for admission to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia may be found here or by contacting their offices at 202-354-3100.

Am I required to maintain an office in the District of Columbia?

No. There is no residency requirement for the District of Columbia.

Can the public see my home address and phone number on record?

The District of Columbia Bar’s policy on personal information only allows the public to see or receive information on your listed business address and phone number. Addresses and phone numbers labeled as “home” do not display in our directory and are not given out to any third party without the authorized consent of the attorney.

What information is publicly available?

D.C. Bar members are reminded that certain membership information required as part of the Bar’s annual registration process is available to the public.

Upon request of any person, the Bar will verify if a specific individual is a member and will release specific information. The information available to the public is whether an attorney is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, an attorney’s membership status, an attorney’s date of admission, and an attorney’s business address and phone number. The Bar also will provide member email and fax numbers unless the member elects to restrict the use of that information to official Bar communications. To restrict that use, please click “unlisted” next to your contact information inside your member account.

All unrestricted information is available on the Bar’s Find a Member search. All other information is confidential unless a signed authorization form is received from the attorney.

Practice Management Advisory Service

What type of assistance does the Practice Management Advisory Service (PMAS) provide?

The PMAS provides information and assistance to Bar members on most aspects of managing their law practice. Assistance is available by telephone and through scheduled on-site management assessments.

How can I reach a PMAS advisor?

  • Dan Mills, assistant director, PMAS, can be reached at 202-780-2762 or [email protected].
  • Rochelle Washington, senior staff attorney, PMAS, can be reached at 202-780-2764 or [email protected].

What type of assistance is the PMAS unable to provide?

The PMAS does not provide assistance on substantive legal issues or perform any office functions for Bar members.

What will it cost?

At present all services of the PMAS are free of charge to D.C. Bar members.

Is the PMAS assistance treated confidentially?

Yes, however, prior to an in-office management assessment, the lawyer(s) must agree to abide by specific confidentiality guidelines.

What other services does the PMAS provide?

The PMAS publishes practice management resource materials and maintains a library of law practice management books and periodicals. The PMAS also assists in developing law practice management continuing legal education programs for the District of Columbia Bar. Finally, the PMAS also provides practice monitors to assist Bar members in the disciplinary system.

Services to the Public

Can the D.C. Bar help me find a lawyer?

The D.C. Bar does not refer clients to lawyers or provide legal advice. Please click here  for resources. For assistance with free legal help please click here.

How can I find information about an attorney?

The D.C. Bar can confirm whether an attorney is licensed to practice in D.C. 

Can the D.C. Bar help with issues regarding my attorney?

Try to resolve issues with your attorney by communicating your concerns clearly and asking for a response.  Your attorney should clearly explain the fee agreement and scope of representation, keep you apprised of developments in your case, and respond to any reasonable requests for information you may have.

If you are unhappy about a legal fee, you may wish to file a fee dispute with the D.C. Bar’s Attorney/Client Arbitration Board. If you have lost funds due to an attorney’s dishonest conduct, you may be able to seek reimbursement from the D.C. Bar’s Clients’ Security Fund. For complaints about your attorney’s ethical behavior, you can file a complaint.

Visit the D.C. Bar

Where can I find parking?

  • D.C. Bar Headquarters
    901 4th Street NW
    Hours of Operation: 7 a.m.–11 p.m.
    Weekday Events (5 p.m.–11 p.m.)
    Daily max: $16
  • City Vista Parking/Colonial Parking
    Station 678 440 L Street NW (Safeway garage)
    Washington, DC 20001
    $9 per hour
    $13 – 2 Hours
    $18 – Daily
  • Franklin Parking
    901 5th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    Monday–Friday 5:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
    $12 – All Day
  • Laz Parking
    501 K Street NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    Monday–Friday 6:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
    Sunday–Saturday 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
    $12 – 1st Hour
    $18 – Max All Day
  • Tag B Parking
    811 3rd Street (I Street) NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    Monday–Friday
    6:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
    $11 – All Day

What are the nearest Metro Stations?

  • Judiciary Square (Red) – five blocks directly south at 450 F Street
  • Gallery Place-Chinatown (Green/Yellow/Red) – five blocks southwest at H and 7th Streets
  • Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street Convention Center (Green/Yellow) – six blocks at 7th and M Streets
  • Union Station (Red) – six blocks southeast down Massachusetts Avenue

What are the nearest bus lines?

There are a number of bus lines within close walking distance of the Bar, including:

  • D.C. Circulator a block south on Massachusetts Avenue
  • X2 and 80 on H Street two blocks south
  • D4 and P6 on I Street
  • 96 on New Jersey Avenue one block east

D.C. Metrobus Schedules and Maps
D.C. Circulator

Where are the nearest Bikeshare locations?

  • 5th Street & K Street NW
  • 7th Street & K Street NW
  • 4th Street & K Street NW

Washington Lawyer Magazine

I am not receiving issues of the Washington Lawyer magazines. Who should I report this to?

Please check your account contact information to ensure your current address is on record. You may manage Communication Preferences through your online D.C. Bar account or by contacting Member Services by phone at 202-626-3475 or by email at [email protected].

I no longer wish to receive the Washington Lawyer magazine via mail. Who should I report this to?

You may manage Communication Preferences by logging into your D.C. Bar account online or by contacting Member Services by phone at 202-626-3475 or email to [email protected].

Website Issues

How can I create an online account?

The D.C. Bar creates a member account on your behalf when we receive your registration statement from the District Court of Appeals. Click here to retrieve the password, enter the username (primary email address) and an email will be sent to your address on file. If you do not have an email address associated with your member account, please contact Member Services by phone at 202-626-3475 or email at [email protected] for log-in assistance. We will ask for member information as a security verification measure.

How do I change my username and password?

The username is the primary email address on record. In order to update your username, please click on “My Full Contact Info” and either enter or select the desired email address as the primary.

In order to change your password, please follow the steps below. 

1. Log in to the D.C. Bar’s website through My Account.

2. Click on the link “Change My Password” on the right hand side. 

3. Enter a new password and then click “Save”. 

How do I print my renewal invoice for mail payment?

Upon login to your member account, select the “Renew Membership” button. Complete the steps to update any profile information, join Communities, and/or add a voluntary Pro Bono donation to your invoice.

Select the option for “Payment by Check” and follow the prompts to download and print your invoice.

I created an account online. Why can’t I pay my license fees?

If you are a D.C. Bar member and create a new account, your membership will not be connected to the self-created account. Click here to retrieve your password, enter the username (primary email address), and an email will be sent to your address on file. If you are unsure which email address is tied to your member record, contact Member Services by phone at 202-626-3475 or email at [email protected] for log-in assistance. We will ask for membership information as a security verification measure.

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