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Frequently Asked Questions

Assessment and Payment Exemptions

  1. Am I exempt from payment because I practice out-of-state?
  2. Am I exempt from payment by virtue of being exempt from pro bono counsel assignment?
  3. Am I exempt from payment by virtue of being prohibited from private practice?
  4. Does the "military" exemption include other government service, e.g., foreign service?
  5. What happens if I neither pay the required fee nor receive either of the inactive exemptions from payment (retired or military)?
  6. Must I continue to respond to the annual billing even though I've been granted one of the inactive exemptions from payment (retired or military)?
  7. How do I activate my license if I no longer qualify for the exemption from payment previously granted?
  8. How do I officially change my name?
  9. How do I update my mailing address?
  10. How do I resign from the Bar?
1. Am I exempt from payment because I practice out-of-state? (back to top) No. You cannot claim an inactive exemption from payment solely by virtue of being out-of-state.
2. Am I exempt from payment by virtue of being exempt from pro bono counsel assignment? (back to top) No. Exemptions from payment are unrelated to exemptions from pro bono counsel assignment.
3. Am I exempt from payment by virtue of being prohibited from private practice?(back to top) No. Exemptions from payment are narrowly defined; all conditions must be met. Lawyers who cannot claim the retired exemption from payment include, but are not limited to, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other government lawyers.
4. Does the "military" exemption include other government service, e.g., foreign service? (back to top) No. The exemption is expressly limited to "full-time active duty with the Armed Forces, AmeriCorps, or Peace Corps."
5. What happens if I neither pay the required fee nor receive either of the inactive exemptions from payment (retired or military)?(back to top) Your name will be entered on a Supreme Court Order declaring you ineligible to practice law in New Jersey. Although this is not a disciplinary action akin to suspension or disbarment, ineligible attorneys are considered not in good standing in New Jersey and may neither practice nor be admitted pro hac vice. By Court Rules 1:28-2 and 1:20-1(d), you would be required to pay a $50 fee to be removed from one year's ineligible list or a $100 fee for removal from two or more years' ineligible lists, in addition to the regular and late fees required for each year.
6. Must I continue to respond to the annual billing even though I've been granted one of the inactive exemptions from payment (retired or military)? (back to top) Yes. The annual assessment package is sent to exempt lawyers each year to provide an opportunity to make changes to the billing address, attorney registration statement and pro bono counsel assignment questionnaire. If there are no changes, date and sign the "Certification of No Change" (Section C of the Registration Statement), complete the pro bono questionnaire, and return the entire form to us. Please access the Online Registration and Payment Center to respond online.
Once the Fund receives a duly executed retired or military certification and grants the exemption, the Fund will keep you in the corresponding exempt category without need of further certification. Thus, you will remain officially in retired or military status until you inform the Fund otherwise.
You have an ongoing duty to inform the Fund immediately if you no longer qualify for the exemption previously claimed, and to keep your address current with the Fund. You can access our Online Registration and Payment Center to activate your license or to update your address.
7. How do I activate my license if I no longer qualify for the exemption from payment previously granted? (back to top) Go to our Online Registration and Payment Center to update your registration information and pay the current year's fee OR contact us in writing with that notification and remit payment in accordance with the fee schedule.
8. How do I officially change my name?(back to top) Attorneys who change their names after admission to practice must file a name change affidavit with the Supreme Court through its Board of Bar Examiners.
9. How do I update my mailing address?(back to top) In accordance with Rule 1:28-2, keep your mailing address current with the Fund during the year. Please note that your mailing address is not confidential. Please access the Online Registration and Payment Center to update your address OR fax changes to (609) 394-3637 or mail to P.O. Box 961, Trenton, NJ 08625-0961. Include your full name, attorney ID# or old address, new address, and e-mail address. (See address change form.)
10. How do I resign from the Bar?(back to top) Please contact the Office of Attorney Ethics.

Office of Attorney Ethics Registration

  1. What must I do if I want to engage in the private practice of law in New Jersey?
  2. I don't practice law in New Jersey and I don't want to pay the fees. I want to be placed on inactive status. What are my options?
  3. How do I resign from the New Jersey Bar?
  4. Where can I find information about Mandatory Licensing of In-House Counsel pursuant to the new Rule 1:27-2?
  5. Although my firm has an office in New Jersey, I practice only in another state. How do I answer the attorney registration Question 3 about whether or not I engage in the practice of New Jersey law?
  6. The information that is printed in the attorney registration portion no longer applies because I am no longer engaged in the private practice of law in New Jersey. What must I do?
  7. If the information submitted on my registration form changes before the next billing cycle, what must I do?
1. What must I do if I want to engage in the private practice of law in New Jersey? (back to top) In order to engage in private practice in New Jersey, you must:
  1. be current in payment of the annual assessment;
  2. complete all three parts of the registration and billing form and keep the data current throughout the year;
  3. maintain a bona fide office under R.1:21-1(a); fulfill the requirements of R. 1:21-6, including trust and business accounts in an approved New Jersey financial institution;
  4. keep trust accounts IOLTA-compliant (R. 1:28A); and maintain required levels of malpractice insurance under Court Rules if practicing in a P.A., P.C., L.L.P., or L.L.C.

2. I don't practice law in New Jersey and I don't want to pay the fees. I want to be placed in inactive status. What are my options? (back to top) There is no "inactive status" in New Jersey. Your options are as follows:
  1. if you meet the standards on the bottom reverse side of the billing form, you can claim an exemption from payment by completing the certification (without alteration or qualification) for (i) Armed Forces, AmeriCorps, or Peace Corps or (ii) Retired completely from the practice of law;
  2. if you are not exempt and do not pay the required fees, you will be declared ineligible and not in good standing in New Jersey; or
  3. you may formally resign from the New Jersey Bar as noted in the answer to Question 3 below.

3. How do I resign from the New Jersey Bar? (back to top) First please review Court Rule 1:20-22.Then complete the form of Resignation Without Prejudice (pdf)and send it to the Office of Attorney Ethics, P. O. 963, Trenton, NJ 08625 for processing.
4. Where can I find information about Mandatory Licensing of In-House Counsel pursuant to the new Rule 1:27-2? (back to top) Please visit the Board of Bar Examiners' website at www.njbarexams.org, or call them at (609) 984-2111.
5. Although my firm has an office in New Jersey, I practice only in another state. How do I answer the attorney registration Question 3 about whether or not I engage in the practice of New Jersey law? (back to top) You should answer "No." If you should practice at all in New Jersey during the year, you have an obligation to return to the website and answer this question "Yes" and then complete the questions about your practice and attorney accounts that will follow regarding your practice and bank accounts.
6. The information that is printed in the attorney registration portion no longer applies because I am no longer engaged in the private practice of law in New Jersey. What must I do? (back to top) Answer question #4 on the attorney registration portion "No." This will remove your practice information from active records.
7. If the information submitted on my registration form changes before the next billing cycle, what must I do? (back to top) Within 30 days, return to this website and update any changes.

Pro Bono Counsel Assignment

  1. Why are New Jersey attorneys required to represent indigent defendants for free when assigned those cases by the court?
  2. How are attorneys chosen for pro bono assignment?
  3. How many hours of pro bono service a year must an attorney provide?
  4. Must all New Jersey attorneys complete pro bono assignments?
  5. What types of cases are assigned as pro bono cases?
  6. What if the assigned attorney has no previous experience in the type of case he or she is assigned?
  7. I am completely retired from the practice of law. Am I required to do pro bono cases?
  8. I recently lost my job with a law firm and have not yet found another law job. Am I required to do pro bono cases?
  9. I am an attorney, admitted in New Jersey, but I practice law and have a bono fide office in another state. My firm does not have an office in New Jersey. Am I required to do pro bono cases?
  10. I am an attorney, admitted in New Jersey and I am employed as an in-house counsel with my primary office in New Jersey. I do not engage in private practice. Am I required to do pro bono cases?
  11. I am an attorney who maintains a bona fide law office in New Jersey. However, I have not represented a private client out of that office for more than a year. Am I required to do pro bono cases?
  12. I am an attorney with a bona fide office in another state, but will occasionally appear in the Federal court system in New Jersey. I have no cases in the New Jersey State courts. Am I eligible for an exemption under exemption code 90?
  13. I am an attorney who occasionally works for a local law firm. I am not formally affiliated with that firm, but only work on an as needed basis. Am I eligible to claim an exemption?
  14. I am an attorney who practices law by being placed by a temporary employment agency in law firms or corporations. Am I eligible to claim an exemption?
  15. I am an attorney licensed in New Jersey with a bona fide office both in New Jersey and Philadelphia. I volunteer to provide over twenty-five hours of legal services to a domestic violence prevention program in Philadelphia. May I claim an exemption for this volunteer work?

1. Why are New Jersey attorneys required to represent indigent defendants for free when assigned those cases by the court? (back to top) In Madden v. Delran, 126 N.J. 591 (1992), the Supreme Court reaffirmed the bar's duty to represent indigent defendants without pay where the Legislature has made no provision for the Public Defender to represent defendants who are entitled to counsel. The Court recognized that it was placing a burden on the bar that should be more generally shared by the public at large. The Court said: "We realize it is the bar that is bearing the burden . . . . We trust the bar understands the strong policy considerations that have persuaded us. As has so often been the case, it is the bar that makes the system work, often without compensation." 126 N.J. at 614.
2. How are attorneys chosen for pro bono assignment?(back to top) Pro bono cases are assigned from a computer list each county maintains of all the attorneys eligible for pro bono assignment in that county. Cases are assigned strictly in order of the list. At the top of the list are attorneys who have had no pro bono assignments, in alphabetical order.
3. How many hours of pro bono service a year must an attorney provide?(back to top) Attorneys are not required to do a certain number of hours per year. Rather, attorneys are required to complete an assigned pro bono case, no matter how many hours that may require. Further, there is no requirement that an attorney complete a certain number of pro bono cases a year. Attorneys are called upon whenever their name reaches the top of the list. For example, depending on the county, an attorney may be required to complete two cases a year or one case every two years.
4. Must all New Jersey attorneys complete pro bono assignments?(back to top) No, certain attorneys, such as most full-time government attorneys, are exempt from mandatory pro bono service. Each year, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts issues a list of all the categories of attorneys who are exempt. To be exempt, the attorney must request the exemption on the annual pro bono questionnaire which is part of the online annual attorney registration. If an attorney fails to request an exemption on the pro bono questionnaire, he or she will be assigned a case when his or her name rises to the top of the list.
5. What types of cases are assigned as pro bono cases? (back to top) Most mandatory pro bono cases fall within three categories: violation of domestic violence restraining orders; municipal appeals; and parole revocation hearings.
6. What if the assigned attorney has no previous experience in the type of case he or she is assigned? (back to top) The Supreme Court addressed this issue in Madden v. Delran, 126 N.J. at 607-08. It recognized that frequently attorneys who have no experience in the substantive area of the law involved in the pro bono case will be called upon. As the Court said: "Real estate attorneys, corporate counsel, experts in commercial leases, all have been assigned to represent indigent defendants charged with simple assault, driving while intoxicated; all were required not only to learn how to defend those cases but to find out where the courthouse is." 126 N.J. at 607. If, however, the trial judge is convinced that the assigned counsel will provide ineffective assistance of counsel, the judge should direct the assigned counsel to obtain a substitute. 126 N.J. at 608.
7. I am completely retired from the practice of law. Am I required to do pro bono cases? (back to top) No, you are exempt from mandatory pro bono. You should request exemption code 86 on the annual pro bono questionnaire that is part of the online annual attorney registration.
8. I recently lost my job with a law firm and have not yet found another law job. Am I required to do pro bono cases? (back to top) No, while you are not practicing law you are exempt from mandatory pro bono. You should request exemption code 86 on the annual pro bono questionnaire that is part of the online annual attorney registration. When you obtain new legal employment, you are required to update your online attorney registration.
9. I am an attorney, admitted in New Jersey, but I practice law and have a bono fide office in another state. My firm does not have an office in New Jersey. Am I required to do pro bono cases? (back to top) No, you are exempt from mandatory pro bono. You should request exemption code 90 on the annual pro bono questionnaire that is part of the online annual attorney registration.
10. I am an attorney, admitted in New Jersey and I am employed as an in-house counsel with my primary office in New Jersey. I do not engage in private practice. Am I required to do pro bono cases?(back to top) Yes. The Supreme Court has determined that attorneys who are in-house counsel with offices in New Jersey and who are in good standing are eligible to receive pro bono assignments, because their work constitutes practicing law.
11. I am an attorney who maintains a bona fide law office in New Jersey. However, I have not represented a private client out of that office for more than a year. Am I required to do pro bono cases?(back to top) Yes. The Supreme Court has determined that any attorney who maintains a bona fide law office in New Jersey, regardless of the amount of activity out of that office, is eligible to receive assignments.
12. I am an attorney with a bona fide office in another state, but will occasionally appear in the Federal court system in New Jersey. I have no cases in the New Jersey State courts. Am I eligible for an exemption under exemption code 90?(back to top) Yes. Practicing in a Federal court in New Jersey does not count as practicing in New Jersey, since Federal courts are a separate jurisdiction.
13. I am an attorney who occasionally works for a local law firm. I am not formally affiliated with that firm, but only work on an as needed basis. Am I eligible to claim an exemption? (back to top) No. The Supreme Court has determined that attorneys who work on a per diem basis are eligible to receive pro bono assignments. However, the Court has further determined that an assignment should only be made during a time that these attorneys are actively practicing law in New Jersey.
14. I am an attorney who practices law by being placed by a temporary employment agency in law firms or corporations. Am I eligible to claim an exemption?(back to top) No. The Supreme Court has determined that attorneys who practice law through temporary employment agencies are eligible to receive pro bono assignments. However, the Court has further determined that an assignment should only be made during a time that these attorneys are actively practicing law in New Jersey.
15. I am an attorney licensed in New Jersey with a bona fide office both in New Jersey and Philadelphia. I volunteer to provide over twenty-five hours of legal services to a domestic violence prevention program in Philadelphia. May I claim an exemption for this volunteer work?(back to top) No. Under exemption code 88, an attorney may claim an exemption if he or she can certify that he or she has performed at least twenty-five (25) hours of pro bono services for domestic violence service providers. However, the volunteer work must be done in New Jersey in order to claim the exemption.

Technical

  1. What browser's does the site currently support?
  2. Why am I getting an error that says "Error: JavaScript needs to be enabled in order for your browser to maintain a session."?
1. What browser's does the site currently support? (back to top) The Attorney Online Billing System currently supports the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Mozilla Firefox.
2. Why am I getting an error that says "Error: JavaScript needs to be enabled in order for your browser to maintain a session."? (back to top) Javascript must be enabled in order to maintain your login session and for you to use the site. Follow the instructions specific to your browser to enable javascript.
Internet Explorer:
  1. Go to Tools -->Internet Options
  2. Click the "Security" Tab
  3. Click the "Custom Level" button
  4. Scroll down under the "Scripting" category under "Active Scripting" select "Enable" and click "OK"
  5. Refresh or restart your browser for the changes to take effect
Mozilla Firefox
  1. Go to Tools --> Options
  2. Click the "Content" tab
  3. Click "Enable Javascript"
  4. Click "OK"
  5. Refresh or restart your browser for the changes to take effect
Netscape
  1. Go to Tools --> Options
  2. Click on "Site Controls"
  3. Under "Web Features" click "Enable Javascript"
  4. Click "OK"
  5. Refresh or restart your browser for the changes to take effect

Login/Registration FAQ's

  1. Why am I getting an error that says "Error: JavaScript needs to be enabled in order for your browser to maintain a session."?
  2. Why am I getting an error that says "HPDIA0200W Login failed. The User ID or Password is invalid." when logging in?
  3. What do I do if I have forgotten my password?
  4. What do I do if I have forgotten my user id?
  5. Why am I not receiving my activation email to complete the registration process?
  6. I cannot find an answer to my question. How do I contact you?

1. Why am I getting an error that says "Error: JavaScript needs to be enabled in order for your browser to maintain a session."?(back to top) Javascript must be enabled in order to maintain your login session and for you to use the site. Follow the instructions specific to your browser to enable javascript.
Internet Explorer:
  1. Go to Tools -->Internet Options
  2. Click the "Security" Tab
  3. Click the "Custom Level" button
  4. Scroll down under the "Scripting" category under "Active Scripting" select "Enable" and click "OK"
  5. Refresh or restart your browser for the changes to take effect
Mozilla Firefox
  1. Go to Tools --> Options
  2. Click the "Content" tab
  3. Click "Enable Javascript"
  4. Click "OK"
  5. Refresh or restart your browser for the changes to take effect
Netscape
  1. Go to Tools --> Options
  2. Click on "Site Controls"
  3. Under "Web Features" click "Enable Javascript"
  4. Click "OK"
  5. Refresh or restart your browser for the changes to take effect

2. Why am I getting an error that says "HPDIA0200W Login failed. The User ID or Password is invalid." when logging in? (back to top) You are receiving this message because either your User ID or Password is invalid.
  • If you are logging in for the first time, please check to make sure your User ID is your Attorney ID and you are using the temporary password provided on your billing card.
  • If you have already logged in and completed your registration, please make sure you are using your new password to login.
  • If you completed the registration process but did not click the activation link within the activation email, please click the link and then try logging in again.
  • If you completed the registration process but did not receive an activation email and click the activation link to complete your registration, please follow these instructions in #5.
Note: Please make sure you did not save the temporary password in the password field. Internet Explorer may have prompted you to save the password the first time you logged in. Make sure you clear out any saved password and re-type your new password.
3. What do I do if I have forgotten my password?(back to top) Click the "Reset Password" link on the login screen and follow the instructions on that page.
4. What do I do if I have forgotten my user id?(back to top) Click the "Request User ID" link on the login screen and follow the instructions on that page.
5. Why am I not receiving my activation email to complete the registration process?(back to top) Check to make sure that your activation email is not getting categorized as "Spam" or "Junk Mail" by your email client. It is advised that you add NJCourts.Mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us to your allowed senders list within your email client. The activation email can be requested again by clicking the "Request Activation Email" on the login screen.
6. I cannot find an answer to my question. How do I contact you? (back to top) If you cannot find an answer, please contact technical support and we will be happy to assist you.
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