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      News Blog

      January 21, 2016

      Thinking about going inactive? Read this first.

      Missouri Supreme Court Rule 6.03 permits an attorney “on the roll of attorneys who has ceased practicing law” to elect inactive status by submitting a written request with their enrollment form, paying the inactive fee of $50, and providing the clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri a current mailing address. Every year around this time, The Missouri Bar receives questions from members considering inactive status. Not coincidentally, annual enrollment fees are due on Jan. 31. While the idea of reducing your annual fee is appealing, you may want to consider the full implications of going inactive and no longer being eligible to practice law in Missouri. ?

      Changing your status to inactive limits your access to a number of practice tools. Below is a list outlining what lawyers can and cannot do during a period of inactive status.

      • You cannot practice law in Missouri (Missouri Supreme Court Rule 6.03)
      • You must continue to pay annual membership dues of $50
      • You cannot access free legal research through Fastcase provided by the bar
      • You cannot vote in Board of Governor elections
      • You can vote in the elections for lawyer members of judicial commissions
      • You cannot file cases through the Missouri eFiling system
      • You can continue to receive the Journal of The Missouri Bar
      • You can join committees, participate in committee meetings and collaborate with colleagues via connect.MOBAR ?
      • You may be eligible for insurance products through The Missouri Bar Private Insurance Exchange (eligibility is determined through the exchange)
      • You can utilize the services of the Missouri Lawyers' Assistance Program (MOLAP)
      • You may be exempt from compliance with the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements, provided you gave notice of inactive status to the clerk prior to the conclusion of the July 1 - June 30 MCLE compliance year (Missouri Supreme Court Rule 15.05). NOTE: Inactive status does not exempt a lawyer from the requirements of Rule 15.05(e)
      • You can register for MoBarCLE Programs and purchase MoBarCLE Publications

      Questions about inactive status also frequently arise when an inactive member seeks to return to practice. Missouri Supreme Court Rule 6.06 provides for a lawyer to again be eligible to practice law in Missouri. Recent amendments to this rule streamlined the process; however, advance planning is needed to avoid delays when returning to practice.

      The first step in the process is to complete at least 15 hours of CLE, including two hours of ethics, within 12 months prior to submitting an application to return to practice. You may confirm compliance with this requirement by contacting the state bar’s MCLE department. Once these CLE hours are complete, an application is submitted to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (OCDC). If you are admitted in any other state, you must include Certificates of Good Standing from each jurisdiction in which you are admitted. There is typically a fee charged for providing these certificates and you should take into consideration the time needed to fulfill the request. Additionally, the applicant must submit proof of payment of all annual fees required by Rule 6.03. Within 45 days of receiving the application, OCDC counsel will determine whether the application can be approved without further inquiry. If no further inquiry is required, the clerk of the Supreme Court of Missouri will be notified and will return the applicant to be eligible to practice law.?

      If the application is determined to merit additional inquiry, the applicant is notified that a petition to return to practice must be filed with the Supreme Court. The petition must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the notice from OCDC and must be accompanied by a docket fee and an investigation fee of $200. Once the petition is filed, the matter is referred to OCDC for a report and recommendation. The petitioner is permitted to file a response to the OCDC report. After reviewing the petition, the report of OCDC and the petitioner’s response, the Court will determine whether to return the petitioner to practice. The Court may also refer the petition to a disciplinary hearing panel for a hearing into any allegations of misconduct contained in the OCDC report.?

      Whether you are actively practicing in Missouri or not, you should carefully consider all of the ramifications before electing to change to inactive status. If you need additional information to assist you in making this decision, you may contact Chris Janku at (573) 635-4128.