IN RE RULES GOVERNING ADMISSION TO THE BAR, RULE VII
In the wake of our decisions in Chandler v. Martin, 2014 Ark. 219; Kelly v. Martin, 2014 Ark. 217; Bailey v. Martin, 2014 Ark. 213; and Williams v. Martin, 2014 Ark. 210, raising issues with Rule VII(C) of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar, we asked the Arkansas Bar Association to appoint a Task Force to review the rule and make a recommendation to this court. The Task Force has completed its work, which has been endorsed by the Arkansas Bar Association, and a petition has been filed to amend the rule.
We thank the members of the Task Force and the Bar Association for their work. Because time is of the essence, we must act on the proposal without the opportunity of publishing it for comment. Accordingly, we accept the recommendation with minor revisions and adopt the amendment to Rule VII(C) as a provisional rule, effective immediately. This rule shall be in place during the next license renewal period, which will enable the Clerk of the Supreme Court and the members of the bar to assess how it is working and to determine whether aspects of the rule may need to be revised. We anticipate taking final action on the rule in June 2015, and we welcome comments from the public before June 1, 2015. Comments should be submitted in writing and addressed to Stacey Pectol, Clerk, Supreme Court of Arkansas, Attn.: Rule VII, Justice Building, 625 Marshall Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201.
RULES GOVERNING ADMISSION TO THE BAR
Rule VII. Application for license.
C. SUSPENSION FOR FAILURE TO PAY FEE.
(1.) Failure to pay the annual license fee provided in subsection A of this Rule VII shall automatically suspend the delinquent lawyer as provided herein from the practice of law in Arkansas and result in the imposition of additional penalties. The annual license fee and late-payment penalties shall be established from time to time by the Court by per curiam orders.
(2.) All notices required to be sent by the Supreme Court Clerk under this Rule shall be sent by regular mail to the address of record for each licensed attorney on file with the Clerk.
(3.) All required submissions to the Clerk's office under this Rule shall be deemed to be dated and submitted as of the date of receipt in the Clerk's office in Little Rock.
(4.) The Clerk shall send each attorney a notice in December stating that the annual license fee is due on January 1; that the fee is delinquent if not paid by March 1, resulting in a penalty of $100; that if the fee and penalty are not paid by April 1 an additional penalty of $100 will be imposed; that the attorney's license shall be automatically suspended if the license fee and all penalties due are not paid in full by April 15 or the next business day for the Clerk's office if the Clerk's office is closed on April 15; and that the delinquent attorney shall be listed as being in a suspended-license status in a per curiam order issued by the Supreme Court after April 15.
(5.) After March 1, the Clerk shall send another notice to all attorneys not yet having paid their license fee that they are delinquent and owe a penalty of $100; such notice shall also contain the same information included in the December notice.
(6.) On or about April 1, the Clerk shall send a third and final notice to all attorneys not yet having paid their license fee that they are delinquent and owe a second penalty of $100; such notice shall also contain the same information included in the December notice.
(7.) The final deadline for payment of the license fee and all penalties shall be April 15 or the next business day for the Clerk's office if the Clerk's office is closed on April 15.
(8.) The names of all delinquent attorneys shall be listed by the Clerk in a per curiam order (the "April 16 per curiam") presented to the Court as soon as practicable after April 15. All attorneys named therein shall be ineligible thereafter to practice law in the courts of the State of Arkansas until reinstated as provided in this Rule. The Clerk shall promptly post a copy of the per curiam on the court's website, send a copy of the per curiam to ...