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Frequently Asked Questions

Annual Attorney Registration


Question: Which rules govern the annual registration of attorneys in Rhode Island?

Answer:   Article IV, Rule 1 of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules on the Periodic Registration of Attorneys.


Question: How often do I have to register with the Rhode Island Supreme Court?

Answer:   All attorneys are required to register with the Rhode Island Supreme Court each year by July 1st. Attorneys are also required to notify the Supreme Court Clerk's Office within 30 days of any change in their attorney registration information. Attorney registration information can be changed online at anytime using the "update" link on the contact information section of your account homepage.


Question: What are the different attorney statuses in Rhode Island?

Answer:   Active - Attorneys maintaining active status may practice law in Rhode Island. Inactive - Attorneys maintaining inactive status are on the Master Roll of Attorneys but cannot practice law in Rhode Island. Attorneys may change their status to inactive on the online attorney portal or by sending a letter to the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office. Attorneys who maintain inactive status must register each year with the Rhode Island Supreme Court but are exempt from the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements. See the How do I change my attorney status? question below for information on how inactive attorneys can resume active status. Removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys - Attorneys are removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for failing to pay their annual attorney registration fees. Suspended Bar Dues - Attorneys who have been found by the Rhode Island Supreme Court to have failed to pay their Rhode Island Bar Association dues are suspended for failure to pay dues. Disciplinary Statuses - Attorneys who have been suspended or disbarred after disciplinary action are placed in the appropriate disciplinary status.


Question: What are the annual attorney registration fees?

Answer:   Active attorneys are required to pay $200.00 by July 1st of each year. Inactive attorneys are required to pay $50.00 by July 1st of each year. Attorneys who fail to pay registration fees by the July 1st deadline are assessed a $125.00 late fee and are removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys. Once removed, active attorneys are prohibited from practicing law in Rhode Island.


Question: What do I need to do if I fail to pay my annual attorney registration fees on time?

Answer:   If you have failed to pay your annual attorney registration fees by the July 1st deadline and you have been removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys you must seek reinstatement. Attorneys removed for a period of less than 6 months can be reinstated by registering and paying all outstanding registration fees, including the late fee. These attorneys can be reinstated by registering online. Attorneys removed for a period of more than 6 months cannot reinstate online as they must file a petition for reinstatement with the Rhode Island Supreme Court pursuant to Article IV, Rule 1(e).


Question: What services are available on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Attorney Portal?

Answer:   Rhode Island attorneys are required to use the Attorney Portal for certain services. Attorneys must use the Attorney Portal to update their contact information within thirty (30) days of any changes, to change their attorney status, and to submit the required annual attorney registration. Attorneys must also use the Attorney Portal to submit Mandatory Continuing Legal Education credits and indigent defense time sheets.


Question: Can I pay my annual attorney registration fees online?

Answer:   Yes, in fact, registering online is now mandatory. Rhode Island attorneys must use the Attorney Portal to register annually by updating their registration information and paying their registration fees. There are two (2) exceptions to the mandatory online filing requirement. First, the Court will accept a single registration fee payment manually when the payment is for five (5) or more attorneys. Single payments for five (5) or more attorneys must be accompanied by a completed Annual Attorney Registration Statement Single Payment Form which lists each attorney for whom payment is being submitted and which acknowledges that any changes to the registration information for those attorneys have been submitted online via the Attorney Portal. Single payment forms are available under the heading of Public Resources, Forms on the Rhode Island Judiciary's website (www.courts.ri.gov). Second, attorneys may petition the Court for an exemption of the mandatory online filing requirement in accordance with the existing electronic filing waiver process set forth in Article X, Rule 3(c).


Question: What forms of payment are accepted on the portal when paying annual attorney registration fees?

Answer:   Annual attorney registration fees can be paid on the portal using a credit card or e-check. There is a $7.25 processing fee when paying by credit card and a $2.25 processing fee when paying by e-check from a United States bank.


Question: What is an e-check?

Answer:   An e-check or electronic check is a method of paying by check online by entering your bank account routing number.


Question: How will I know my payment has been received?

Answer:   You will receive an email confirmation of payment and receipt after making your payment.


Question: As a Rhode Island attorney, do I have to join the Rhode Island Bar Association?

Answer:   Yes. The State of Rhode Island has a unified bar and, therefore, membership with the Rhode Island Bar Association is mandatory for all attorneys licensed to practice law in Rhode Island. As a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, you must pay annual dues. The Rhode Island Bar Association annual dues are separate and apart from the Rhode Island Supreme Court annual attorney registration fees.


Question: What happens if I failed to pay my Rhode Island Bar Association annual dues?

Answer:   The Rhode Island Bar Association may seek to have you suspended for failure to pay your dues


Question: Do I need to register annually with the Rhode Island Supreme Court after assuming inactive status?

Answer:   Yes. Inactive attorneys must register annually with the Rhode Island Supreme Court.


Question: How do I change my attorney status?

Answer:   Active to Inactive - Active attorneys can change to inactive status online as part of the annual registration process or after registering by using the "Attorney Status Change" link on their account homepage. Inactive to Active - Inactive attorneys can resume active status, however, the process differs depending upon how long you have maintained inactive status. If you have maintained inactive status for less than 6 months, you can change your status to active online as part of the annual registration process or after registering by using the "Attorney Status Change" link on their account homepage. If you have maintained inactive status for more than 6 months, you must petition the Rhode Island Supreme Court for reinstatement pursuant to Article IV, Rule 1(e). Removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys to Active or Inactive - Attorneys who have been removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys for failing to pay annual attorney registration fees can be returned to the rolls and resume active or inactive status. The process differs depending upon how long you have been removed. If you have been removed for less than 6 months, you can change your status online by using the "Attorney Status Change" link on your account homepage. You will be required to pay all outstanding attorney registration fees from the year you were removed (including the late fee) and attorney registration fees for the current registration year. Please note that you cannot resume active status without petitioning the Rhode Island Supreme Court for reinstatement if before being removed you maintained inactive status for more than 6 months. If you have been removed for more than 6 months, you must petition the Rhode Island Supreme Court for reinstatement pursuant to Article IV, Rule 1(e). Suspended Bar Dues to Active or Inactive - Attorneys who have been suspended for failure to pay Rhode Island Bar Association dues can resume active or inactive status but only after paying all outstanding monies owed to the Rhode Island Bar Association. Once paid in full, the process for changing your status differs depending upon how long you have been suspended. Please note that attorneys who have been suspended for failure to pay dues cannot change their status online. If you have been suspended for less than 6 months, you can resume active or inactive status after paying all outstanding attorney registration fees and attorney registration fees for current registration year. If you have been suspended for more than 6 months, you must petition the Rhode Island Supreme Court for reinstatement pursuant to Article IV, Rule 1(e). Questions relating to outstanding bar dues should be directed to the Rhode Island Bar Association at (401) 421-5740.


Question: Can I get my registration late fees waived?

Answer:   Rhode Island attorneys who are unable to comply with the attorney registration requirements "due to illness, financial or personal difficulties, may petition the court, with proper documentation, for an exemption." Sup.Ct.Rules Art. IV, Rule 1(e)(4). Accordingly, attorneys seeking to be exempt from any of the attorney registration requirements, including late fees, must obtain an exemption from the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office has no authority to waive attorney registration late fees.


Question: Is there an age exemption from the annual attorney registration requirements?

Answer:   No, there is no age exemption from the annual attorney registration requirements.


Question: How do I resign from the Rhode Island bar?

Answer:   Any attorney who wishes to resign from the Rhode Island Bar must file a motion with the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk. Sup.Ct.Rules Art. III, Rule 23.


Question: Can I get reinstated after resignation?

Answer:   Resigned members seeking reinstatement must follow the procedures set forth in Article III, Rule 16. The questionnaire referred to in Rule 16 can be obtained by contacting the Office of Disciplinary Counsel at (401) 222-3270.


Question: Do I have to notify the Rhode Island Supreme Court of changes to my contact information after I have registered?

Answer:   Yes, all Rhode Island attorneys are required to notify the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office within 30 days of any change, including telephone numbers and email addresses, in their contact information. Attorney contact information can be changed at anytime using the online attorney portal. Simply use the "update" link on the contact information section of your portal account homepage.


Question: Do I have to notify the Rhode Island Supreme Court if my name changes and, if so, what do I need to do?

Answer:   To change your name you must provide the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office with a written request and attach a copy of a marriage certificate or any court documents verifying the change.


Question: I am not licensed in Rhode Island. Can I practice as in-house counsel in Rhode Island?

Answer:   Yes, provided you first seek permission from the Rhode Island Supreme Court. This requires the filing of an in-house counsel registration form with is available on the Judiciary's website (www.courts.ri.gov) under the Supreme Court "Forms" link. In-house counsel attorneys are subject to the annual attorney registration requirements including registering each year and advising the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office within 30 days of any change to their contact information. In-house counsel attorneys pay the active $200.00 registration fee.


Question: How do I obtain a certificate of good standing?

Answer:   Send a $15.00 check payable to the Rhode Island Supreme Court with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office.


Question: Who should I contact with questions about the online attorney portal?

Answer:   Please contact the Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerk's Office at (401) 222-3272 or attorneyreginfo@courts.ri.gov.


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