A Complete Guide to Lawyers License Renewal
After earning your bachelor’s and going to law school, you find yourself a full-fledged attorney, and the last thing you need is to renew your license.
Though, still, it is imperative, as it is all the lies in between an active and eligible attorney and one that is not. You must be thinking of the logistics of how it is done and is it as easy as just going to an office in some very large building and just have it renewed on the spot.
Below we explain the process.
Why Renew Your Lawyers License?
As you will learn, renewing your license is not an occasional thing and it is definitely not unimportant. As you will learn, renewing your license is something of a yearly affair. The reason behind this is that the Bar Association requires all licensed lawyers to be updated with what’s relevant to us today. They do not want a lawyer to be outdated, because they need to remain up to the standards of the Bar.
Continuing Legal Education Is Imperative
Firstly, it is important that you understand what continuing legal education is. Continuing Legal Education, or CLE, is often found as an obligation to be completed by all lawyers. While some states have made it mandatory, others have stressed its importance, but marked it as a recommendation. Though make no mistake, continuing your legal education is always needed, especially with a number of new regulations and new law enactments being introduced in all sectors; you must always keep yourself updated. The law gurus of ProLawCLE have greatly expressed the importance and necessity of CLE and collaboration, finding that it leads to success. They have said that it fosters collaboration through networking opportunities.
Continuing Legal Education courses offer credits to lawyers who are looking to renew their licenses. You will find that most states require lawyers to renew their license by the end of the year. Though, as it is the case, many attorneys will file for an extension that will usually last until March. Still, there is no denying the necessity or benefits of CLE.
In the United States, in jurisdictions where CLE is mandatory, the lawyer must complete and earn a minimum number of Continuing Legal Education credits. This is usually measured in hours, with your Continuing Legal Education studies being taken over a set period of years. Young attorneys in the States usually undertake this legal training with an experienced attorney to achieve credits for their Continuing Legal Education. For others, to earn credits, they go and teach at accredited CLE programs, while others go to speak. There are a number of opportunities offered by state bar associations across the entire country.
How Are Lawyers Licensed?
According to the American Bar Association, lawyers are licensed by a state agency, which you will find in each state. Through that agency, you will be able to find out if a person has a law license and if they are permitted to practice in a particular state.
A Lawyer’s License Renewal Process
To renew your license you must carry out a number of prerequisites first. There are steps, fees, and deadlines for any lawyer’s annual license renewal. They may vary from state to state, but do pretty much contain the same set of details. Here is what a licensed legal professional needs to do to renew their license.
- Pay Your License Fees
To do so, you have to go to your State’s Bar and follow the instructions on how to pay your fee. You will have to check and see in what year you were admitted to the bar. Depending on the year and state, your fees will vary. Expect to pay anywhere in between $200-$500. This will then take you to the next step.
- You May Then Join or Renew State Bar Association Sections
Now that you have paid your fee, you may join or renew your license.
There are additional steps that you might be faced with when stumbling upon this process. They may include:
- Having to file a trust account information
- Having to file a copy of your professional liability insurance
- Having to file a financial responsibility
- Having to pay for the Client Protection Fund assessment
- Having to complete your Continuing Legal Education and make sure it is completed to the expected standards.
Your Continuing Legal Education can, and sometimes must, be completed online. Also, if you complete all of the mentioned stages online you do not have to mail your papers and forms. Though, in the case that you do not have a trust account, but are an active licensed legal counselor, you still must file this said disclosure regardless.
After completing all these stages, you will have to deal with this hassle no more. Your license will be renewed and you can go back to business as usual. Though you must know that bar exam results never expire, and you do not have to admit yourself to the pain of having to study for it once more. That is as long as you do not violate any ethical rules and of course, pay your dues on time. You must also know that your license, even when renewed, does not permit you to grant legal counsel as a professional and practice the law unless you fulfill the other state’s requirements. In such cases, you may be asked to take the bar exam, though some states give you a shortened version of it.
Though the process may seem overwhelming and the work involving renewing your license may seem impossible, it is actually not that hard nor is it that long and wearying. As an attorney, you will find yourself naturally practicing with an experienced lawyer and you will not even be thinking about it. Once your CLE credits are complete and to the standards of your State’s Bar Association, follow through with the instructions of renewing by filing for a few things and paying your fee. Once that is done, you can return to your firm or legal practice as a fully licensed attorney.