New Rule to Increase Bar Admissions Fee in Limited Areas
The Ohio Supreme Court announced today that it will increase some fees for out-of-state attorneys. The main attorney registration fee paid by Ohio attorneys is not affected. The rules will go into effect on January 1, 2014.
To help offset annual cash flow challenges, the Ohio Supreme Court is increasing some fees to stabilize the Admissions Fund. The Admissions Fund helps maintain the operations of the Office of Bar Admissions, the Board of Bar Examiners, and the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness. The fund has incurred declining revenue for several years causing it to fall periodically into a negative balance. The last fee increase for admissions applications occurred in 2007.
Part of the declining revenue has to do with a declining number of applicants registering to be admitted in Ohio by taking the bar examination. The majority of Admissions Fund revenue comes from those who file an Application to Register as a Candidate for Admission to the Practice of Law and an Application to Take the Bar Examination. In fiscal year 2007, there were 1,690 bar candidate registrations. By 2010, that number had dropped by more than 10% to 1,490. Although the number of bar candidate registrations has stabilized over the past few years, the number remains lower than projected in 2007 and is not expected to increase dramatically in the future. The Admissions Fund has had three cash flow problems since 2009, and it’s projected the Admissions Fund will see another deficit in 2014.
“It is necessary that the Admissions Fund has a reliable source of revenue to properly support the important activities of the Office of Bar Admissions, such as the administration of the bi-annual bar examination and the character and fitness investigation of bar applicants,” said Susan Christoff, attorney services director. “It is also important that the office have a steady flow of revenue to address cash-flow concerns.”
Changes include increasing the pro hac vice annual registration fee for out-of-state attorneys from $100 to $150 and increasing the admission without examination fee, also for out-of-state attorneys, from $1,250 to $1,500. To implement these increases the Supreme Court has amended two rules under the Rules for the Government of the Bar. The rule changes also provide that all revenue from the pro hac vice admission fee will go into the Admissions Fund instead of the Attorney Services Fund where the monies were previously deposited. The Attorney Services Fund maintains the operations of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and covers other disciplinary-related expenses, including the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline and the Clients’ Security Fund.
It’s estimated that increasing the annual fee for pro hac vice admission will increase revenue by $62,500 per fiscal year, and increasing the admissions without examination fee will increase revenue by $34,250.