Frequent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How and when are the Bar’s annual dues notices mailed?

The D.C. Bar sends out annual registration statements by first-class mail each May in advance of its upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Each registration statement includes the amount of annual dues the member must remit.        

When must my dues be remitted?

Membership dues for the fiscal year are due and payable on July 1, and members must remit their payments by July 15 to avoid a late fee.

How can I pay my dues?

Payment may be submitted by check using the business reply envelope included or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). Members may also pay online. When paying online, members may also update their member profiles, join a section, and contribute to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.

When are my dues considered late?

For 2014–2015, dues are late if received after July 15. Members who pay after that date must include a $30 late fee.

What happens if my dues are unpaid by July 15?

Members whose dues are unpaid by July 15 are sent a final registration statement by first-class mail that includes the amount of dues and late fee to be paid along with instructions. For 2014–2015, payments must be postmarked by September 30 to avoid automatic suspension from membership. Individuals suspended administratively for nonpayment of dues and/or late fee shall not be entitled to practice law in the District of Columbia during the period of such suspension.

If I am suspended for nonpayment of dues or late fee, how can I secure reinstatement?

For 2014–2015, if your dues are not received postmarked by September 30, your membership will automatically be suspended administratively for nonpayment. If you wish to be reinstated, you must submit a written request to the D.C. Bar executive director that includes payment of unpaid dues and/or late fee plus a reinstatement fee of $50. If the year in which you are applying for reinstatement is beyond the year in which you were suspended, you must also include the current year dues. Your written request must also include a statement that you are not suspended, temporarily suspended, or disbarred by any disciplinary authority and, if applicable, a certificate of completion of the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice.

How do I get my Bar membership card replaced?

Members who need their D.C. Bar membership card replaced should contact Member Services at 202-626-3475 or at memberservices@dcbar.org.

How will I get my registration statement if I have relocated?

Members are required by Rule II, section 2, of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the District of Columbia Bar to update their address information in writing within 30 days of any change. A U.S. Postal Service forwarding notice sent to the Bar is not a substitute for the member’s explicit written notice.

Can I give you my change of address over the phone?

No. The rules require that changes of address be in writing within 30 days of that move. Changes must be sent to the D.C. Bar Member Service Center, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20005-5937, or submitted online or via e-mail memberservices@dcbar.org.

Am I required to maintain an office in the District of Columbia?

No. There is no residency requirement for the District of Columbia.

The registration statement has three member types: active, inactive, and judicial. What are the differences?

Active membership is required for members who practice or hold themselves out as licensed to practice in the District of Columbia. Only active members are eligible to vote in Bar elections. Active membership dues are currently $268.

Inactive membership is available for members who are eligible for membership but do not hold themselves out as licensed to practice in the District of Columbia. It maintains your record on file with the Bar should you decide in the future to practice law in the District of Columbia. Inactive dues are currently $130.

Judicial membership is available to judges of courts of record; full–time court commissioners; U.S. bankruptcy judges; U.S. magistrate judges; other persons who perform a judicial function on an exclusive basis, in an official capacity created by federal or state statute, or by administrative agency rule; and retired judges who are eligible for temporary judicial assignments and are not engaged in the practice of law. If a member’s terms and conditions of employment require that he or she be eligible to practice law, the member may choose to be an active member. Judicial membership dues are currently $130.

How do I change my status?

You can change your status at any time by notifying the Bar in writing. If the change is from inactive to active status, the member must also remit the additional dues amount for that dues year based on the date of the change. For the 2014–2015 dues year, those amounts are $138.00 for status changes made on or before December 31 and $69.00 for changes made after that date. Members wishing to return to active status after having been inactive for five years or more are also required to complete the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice before the change can take effect. Members who decide to change status from active to inactive after having paid their annual dues do not receive a refund.

What status should I choose? Can you advise me?

Although the Bar staff cannot advise you on what status to elect, we recommend you consult the appropriate D.C. Court of Appeals rules, particularly Rule 49 and commentary on the practice of law in the District of Columbia.

I am retired but would like to continue receiving D.C. Bar materials. Is there a nonpaying status?

Yes. The D.C. Bar offers a retired/inactive status for two categories of members: members who have been active for at least five years (note: two years of any combination of inactive or judicial status may be substituted for one year of active membership), have been engaged in the practice of law in the District of Columbia or elsewhere for a total of 25 years, and have retired from the practice of law; and members who are totally disabled and are thus unable to practice. For 2014–2015, to avoid having to pay dues, members must elect retired/inactive status on or  before September 30 of the dues year.

If I elect retired/inactive status, may I later elect to return to active, inactive, or judicial status?

Yes, but you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $100 plus current year dues to return to active status.

How do I get a certificate of good standing?

You can request a certificate of good standing in writing or in person from the Committee on Admissions, D.C. Court of Appeals, 430 E Street NW, Room 123, Washington, DC 20001. The phone number is 202-879-2710. The cost of the certificate is $5 (cash or check payable to “Clerk, D.C. Court of Appeals”). You can expect about a 10-minute wait if applying in person. An order form is available online.

How do I change a name in the District of Columbia Bar records?

In order to change a name on our official Bar records, the  D.C. Bar member must send a notification in writing requesting the name change  and a copy of the marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order which  changed the name.      

The written request must include the following:

  • Previous name
  • Date of Birth
  • Bar number
  • New name
  • Reason for name change (i.e.:  marriage, divorce, etc.)

Please mail your signed written request to: The District of Columbia Bar, ATTN: Member Service Center, 1101 K Street NW,  Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005 or e–mail your request to memberservices@dcbar.org. Any updates to your contact information should  be included with this request. A new bar  card will be mailed to reflect the name change.