I am member of the State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors, the 160 member group elected by lawyers to oversee the practice of law in our State. I try to give updates to the members I represent, the Alcovy Circuit consisting of Newton and Walton County and to anyone else who is interested. The April 3rd Meeting was the first ever done remotely using Zoom because of the coronavirus. The remote meeting worked well, and we were able to debate and vote, but I would not want to conduct every meeting this way. In the meeting we voted to approve a new “Retired Status” as a new available status for our Members. Here is what the new language about Retired Status will say in the rules:
“(f) Retired Status Member.
61 (1) Any member of the State Bar of Georgia who is not
62 engaged in the active practice of law in any state, district, or territory of the
63 United States may transfer to Retired Status by submitting a request in
64 writing to the Executive Director and General Counsel of the State Bar of
65 Georgia. Upon approval by the Executive Director and General Counsel, the
66 Membership Department shall transfer the member to Retired status. A
67 member in Retired Status shall not be entitled to practice law in this state
68 and may not practice law in any other jurisdiction. Further, such members
69 shall not be eligible to vote or hold office in the State Bar of Georgia. Any
70 member transferred to Retired status shall be relieved of their membership
71 fees and CLE obligations.
72 (2) A request for Retired Status must be unqualified, is irrevocable
73 and permanent. A member in Retired status will appear in the State Bar of
74 Georgia member directory as “Retired.”
75 (3) A member of the State Bar of Georgia with a pending
76 disciplinary matter may transfer to Retired status with the consent of the
77 Office of the General Counsel. Grievances received after a member has
78 transferred to retired status may be investigated and prosecuted through the
79 disciplinary process at the option of the Office of the General Counsel.
80 (4) Members suspended from the practice of law because of failure
81 to meet CLE requirements or failure to pay Bar membership fees are not
82 eligible for retired status.”
I think this is a positive and more accurately describes a status we all hope to reach some day.
The major issue was approval of the budget and the setting the dues. The Bar dues were not raised this year and remained $254. The proposal from the Executive Committee had been a $12 raise in dues to $266 in an effort to balance the budget, but that was sidelined because of the financial strain of the coronavirus. I agree with keeping dues stagnant in these difficult times. The Bar received a grant to offset financial effects of coronavirus equal to $6 per member from the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency (CCLC) and the Supreme Court of Georgia,. We have over $4 million in reserves to draw on in times like this and will still have a healthy amount in reserves even after this. I would expect a large increase in dues, $12 or more, once things get back to normal, as soon as next year.
I continue to serve on the Board and Chair the special committee on Attorney Client Solicitation as well as serving on the Advisory Counsel on Legislation, the General Counsel’s Oversight Committee, the BASICs Committee and the Clients Security Fund Committee. If you have any comment or question about those committees of the State Bar, please reach out to me at 770.988.5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, we have an open seat in the Alcovy for Board of Governors and the candidates are Eric Crawford and Austin Jones. Please remember to vote online or through the mail.