Annual Assessment - New Jersey Attorneys Rule 1:28-2
The assessment annually paid by members of the New Jersey Bar has three components:
- the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection;
- the disciplinary system, including the Office of Attorney Ethics and the Disciplinary Review Board; and
- the Lawyers Assistance Program.
Billing is done strictly on a calendar year basis; there are no pro rata charges. Attorneys are not required to pay the annual assessment during the year in which they are admitted regardless of how long or short the portion of that first calendar year of admission may be. Those admitted 50 or more years also need not pay. Exemptions from payment are limited to attorneys who are on active duty in the U.S. military, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps or to those who are completely retired from the practice of law in every jurisdiction. Attorneys may be granted these exemptions only upon proper completion of certifications that their activities comport with the exemptions as defined.
Attorneys who neither pay nor are granted the retired or military exemption are declared ineligible to practice law by Order of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The Ineligible List is published and distributed to all vicinages.
Within a few months of admission, attorneys should receive the first of their annual billing forms. It is currently a three-part form, the bottom portion of which tells the attorney what fee is due. The Office of Attorney Ethics uses the middle portion of the form (the Annual Attorney Registration Statement) to collect vital information regarding whether an attorney is engaged in the private practice of law and if so, details about the attorney's compliance with requirements for a bona fide office and trust and business accounts. These additional requirements for those who wish to engage in private practice in New Jersey are independent of the requirement to pay the annual assessment and may be found in Rule 1:21. The top portion of the form gathers information important to the Judiciary's assignment of pro bono counsel. Please access the Online Registration and Payment Center to respond online.
For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions. Calls for further information should be directed to the office indicated, based upon which portion of the form is relevant. Given the importance of the assessment and the information sought on the billing form, it is absolutely essential that, in accordance with Rule 1:28-2, members of the Bar keep mailing addresses current with the Fund.