Wednesday, November 4, 2009
From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court of Ohio has suspended the Ohio law license of 233 attorneys who failed to register with the Supreme Court for the biennium that began Sept. 1, 2009, and ends Aug. 31, 2011. The suspended attorneys were notified in July and again in October of the registration deadline.
A suspended attorney is barred from practicing law until satisfying the registration requirements and paying all registration fees and a $300 reinstatement fee. Any attorney who continues to practice law while under suspension may be referred for investigation of the unauthorized practice of law.
The vast majority of practicing attorneys in Ohio, more than 99 percent, met their registration requirements for this biennium. The number of attorneys suspended for not meeting the requirements is less than last biennium when 345 attorneys failed to meet the registration deadline and had their law licenses suspended. Currently there are 57,311 registered attorneys in Ohio, of which 41,808 are active, 12,646 are inactive, 267 are corporate, and another 2,590 are retired. Only attorneys who have active or corporate status are required to register for the biennium.
Attorneys engaged in the practice of law in Ohio are required by Rule VI of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio to register with the Supreme Court biennially and pay a $350 registration fee. In July, the Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Services sent all attorneys who were currently registered with the state for active or corporate status a certificate of registration for the upcoming biennium and directed them to register for the next biennium by Sept. 1, 2009.
The Supreme Court sent letters in October to those attorneys who failed to meet the Sept. 1 registration deadline alerting them of their non-compliance. The attorneys suspended by the Court today did not file evidence of compliance with Rule VI or come into compliance with this rule (by paying the original $350 fee plus a $50 late fee) on or before Nov. 2.
The revenue raised from attorney registration fees is the primary source of funding for the administration of the bar in Ohio. Nearly three-fourths of the revenue generated by the biennial registration fee is used to support the disciplinary system that investigates complaints against judges and attorneys. The disciplinary system includes the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline, the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and local grievance committees.
Revenue from the fee also supports the Clients’ Security Fund, the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program and the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. The Clients’ Security Fund reimburses law clients who have sustained financial losses as a result of the dishonest conduct of licensed Ohio attorneys. The Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program provides assistance to Ohio attorneys with alcoholism, substance abuse, addictive behavior and psychological problems. The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation administers various funds for Ohio’s legal aid societies, which in turn provide civil legal services to meet the needs of Ohio’s poor.