Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court announced that the portion of dues paid by State Bar of Michigan members to fund the disciplinary system in Michigan will decrease by $20 for every Michigan attorney during the next dues cycle. That means the total amount of dues paid by active Michigan attorneys will drop from $305 a year to $285 a year.
After that decrease in dues takes place, how expensive will Michigan's dues be compared to those in other states?
First, it's important to note that every state in the country and the District of Columbia require attorneys to pay some sort of licensing fee or membership dues to practice law.
There are 33 mandatory bar jurisdictions, which are comprised of 32 states and the District of Columbia. There are six jurisdictions (comprising 18.2 percent of all mandatory jurisdictions) with required dues and fees that will be less expensive than the new State Bar of Michigan dues, and 26 jurisdictions (78.8%) that will be more expensive than the new SBM dues. The mean of the dues of the 33 mandatory bar jurisdictions is $378 and the median of the dues of the mandatory jurisdictions is $385.
So the State Bar of Michigan's dues will be less expensive than those charged to attorneys in more than 75 percent of mandatory bar states.
There are 18 voluntary bar jurisdictions, but within these voluntary jurisdictions, attorneys are still required to pay dues or fees. Taking these into consideration in combination with the 33 mandatory jurisdictions (the District of Columbia and all of the states, totaling 51 jurisdictions), 18 jurisdictions (35.3%) have required dues and fees that are less expensive than the SBM, and 32 jurisdictions (62.7%) are more expensive. The mean of dues and required fees of the 51 jurisdictions is $323 and the median is $325.
In sum, it will be cheaper to practice law in Michigan than in more than 60 percent of all other jurisdictions, mandatory and voluntary combined, across the country.
Posted by Samantha Meinke
Statistics were compiled by SBM Director of Finance and Administration Jim Horsch, from data gathered by the American Bar Association