Court Approves Change to D.C. Bar Dues Ceiling

December 22, 2015

On December 22 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals approved a new dues ceiling, or maximum authorized dues rate level, for the D.C. Bar as recommended by the Bar’s Board of Governors.

The D.C. Bar dues level has consistently been among the lowest in the country for a bar of its size, ranking in the bottom 20 percent of all unified bars, according to a recent American Bar Association report. The Bar’s operations include comprehensive programs to support professional competence, professionalism, and ethical conduct; an attorney discipline system; and a Clients’ Security Fund.

In a petition filed on June 30, 2015, the Board recommended the new dues ceiling to fund the Bar’s projected operating expenses for at least the next five fiscal years. The new ceiling amount of $380 was suggested by the Board’s Dues Ceiling Rate Authorization Committee, which studied the Bar’s current and projected finances to determine the funding needed for the Bar’s continued operations through mid-2020.

The court approved the Board’s proposal to raise the Bar’s ceiling on annual membership dues from $285 to $380, effective July 1, 2016, until further order of the court.

The new ceiling does not represent the actual dues rate assessed to Bar members but rather a maximum. The dues rate is set annually by the Board after an extensive budget review process.

View the full order here.