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Posts Tagged ‘mandatory membership bar’

man_in_fireFact-checking the Arizona Bar Mission & Governance Task Force in 2015, I provided a chart to refute the alternative fact in the draft report that “States that have voluntary bar associations by and large do not have lower overall bar dues.”

The Arizona Bar was wrong then. 16 months later having updated the chart — they’re still wrong. Indeed, because compulsory membership dues have gone up for Arizona’s lawyers since 2015, the claim is even more inaccurate.

Coincidentally, for the procrastinatory or penurious, yesterday was the last day Arizona lawyers could pay annual mandatory dues without incurring a $100 late penalty.  And for those still cash-strapped or dilatory after March 2nd, add another punitive $100 to the grief quotient — not to mention the risk of summary suspension for non-payment.

While it’s true fees have gone up in some voluntary states since 2015, even at that lawyers in those 18 voluntary bar states are still better off than lawyers in mandatory bar states like Arizona and the 11 other chart-topping most expensive mandatory bars. Annual dues in those not-cheaper-by-the-dozen jurisdictions run from $430 to $660.

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Arizona lawyers will be thrilled to read the current Arizona Attorney magazine item on how the Bar Board of Governors’ 2015-2019 strategic plan is “committed to maintaining member fees as approved by the Arizona Supreme Court, without additional increases to members, consistent with the Bar’s duty to serve and protect the public.”  Talk about chutzpah. They haven’t even finished rolling out the last dues increase. As it is, Arizona is already the 2nd highest total cost to practice among mandatory bars.

Paying less.

https://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/m/mensatic/preview/fldr_2005_02_05/file000777960788.jpgOn average, lawyers in the voluntary states pay less for lawyer regulation. This makes sense since lawyers aren’t forced to pay for both regulation and what should be optional trade association functions.  The average cost of lawyer regulation in the 18 voluntary jurisdictions is just over $200. Not so in Arizona where lawyers pay for compulsory membership, which includes an undisclosed amount for lawyer regulation.

And even where lawyers choose to join their voluntary bar associations, the average is $477 — still lower than the $505 Arizona lawyers currently pay and which goes up to $520 on January 1,2019. Using the comparably sized 22,000+ member voluntary Ohio State Bar Association as an example, Ohio lawyers pay $175 per year in court-mandated lawyer regulatory registration fees ($350 biennually) and $305 to belong to the voluntary Ohio State Bar. The total annualized cost for both is $480. In my opinion, the Ohio State Bar Association’s membership benefits are even better than those offered by the State Bar of Arizona.

The data on the following chart on voluntary state bar association membership dues is updated from 2015. It was obtained from readily available public online information from voluntary state bar jurisdictions and in some instances, by direct communications with voluntary bar lawyers and association representatives. Attorney registration fee information comes from state court websites.

voluntary-bar-jurisdictions-cost-comparison-chart

 

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg — she of the Harvard College summa cum laude Economics sheepskin and Harvard M.B.A. leaves work at 5:30 p.m. for a brand-new 9,000 square foot McMansion and her two kids. She’s just another Suzy Homemaker with a nine figure net worth.

Sandberg’s smart enough to have known that as a well-entrenched member of the 1%, she might face a wee bit of criticism for preaching in her new book to a congregation sitting outside in the cold.

Does an exceptional pedigree, rarefied corporate power and mind-boggling wealth dilute a feminist empowerment message: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead? No doubt.

If it only took “Will” — and not a whole bunch of “Benjamins” to pull off what Sandberg advocates in her self-help tract. Among other things, she tells women that to get ahead, they need to ‘lean in‘ at the workplace.

Give her credit for brass even as she faces criticism for the temerity of a billionairess’s personal fortune that “must leave her tone-deaf to the plight of the typical worker.”

How tone-deaf? About $96,261’s worth, which according to Investopedia is how much a homemaker is worth these days — or at least that’s how much money is needed to pay for the army of help to pull off the glass ceiling-crashing career Sandberg envisions for her childbearing sisterhood. For the moneyless classes, it’s “The True Cost of Leaning In.”


https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/60/Maslow%27s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg/450px-Maslow%27s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg.pngWhen you’ve successfully satisfied all your physiological and safety needs like she has, the rest is easy — from a self-satisfied self-actualized pulpit.

Our society, though, has a long history of  the privileged and entitled lecturing the rest of us on how to be successful.

Still, while obvious, her points are well made. Speak up. Don’t hold yourself back. Enough with the ‘shrinking violet’ stuff. We shall overcome“the leadership ambition gap.”

Arizona Lawyers: How much do you make?

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And speaking of tone-deaf, then there’s the Arizona State Bar, the self-styled consumer protection agency that wants to know how much kibble is in the lawyer kitty.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before but the Bar is again asking their lawyers to pony up their economic data. It was almost three years ago when the Bar last

Unlike last time, however, this time they’re curious enough to inquire, “How much law school debt are Arizona attorneys carrying?”

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So why do they want to know? What difference does it make? Will Bar dues go down? Or the cost of Bar-sponsored continuing legal education? Or is it, like before, to publish a full report so the Bar can sell it to its members?

Maybe it’s for calibrating the economic pain meter to justify how much to charge lawyers for the continued privilege of practicing law in the state?

Maybe, it’s simply a legally palatable, anti-trust compliant way for firms to figure out legal services pricing based on market average billing rates?

Perhaps, it’s all of the above. All the same, if Arizona lawyers belonged to a member-friendly voluntary bar like in Kansas’, they wouldn’t have to pay for a copy of the full report. In Kansas, bar members receive the 2012 Kansas Economics of Law Practice Report gratis.

But then Arizona is a mandatory membership bar like New Mexico, Oregon, and Mississippi and the majority of U.S. jurisdictions. However, in those three mentioned jurisdictions, their members don’t pay for the full report. They download their compensation surveys free of charge. See The Economics of Law Practice in New Mexico Lawyer Compensation  and Oregon’s 2012 ECONOMIC SURVEY – Oregon State Bar and Mississippi’s 2012 ECONOMIC SURVEY September 2012 – The Mississippi Bar.

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So having dutifully ignored the first two emails, the Bar emailed my “Last Chance – Your Link to the 2013 State Bar of Arizona Economics Study” last week. No thanks. Ear-trumpet and all, can’t hear you.

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Photo Credits: “ear trumpet 1,” by Eknath Gomphotherium at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content for noncommercial use requiring attribution; “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” at Wikipedia Commons via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license;

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