Application for license to practice law, except for good cause shown, must be filed within one year from the date of recommendation; otherwise the applicant must submit to an examination by the State Board of Law Examiners for further recommendation.
A. LICENSE FEE. An annual license fee as set by the Court, from time to time, shall be imposed upon each attorney actively licensed to practice law in this State. The fee shall be paid annually to the Clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court. The amount shall be payable January 1 of each year, and must be paid not later than March 1 of each year to avoid penalties and suspension as described in subsection (C) of this Rule. Funds thus realized shall be used as ordered by the Supreme Court of the State of Arkansas.
(1) Attorneys licensed in this State who have transferred to voluntary inactive status pursuant to Section 25 A.(7) of the Procedures of the Arkansas Supreme Court Regulating Professional Conduct of Attorneys at Law, or its successor provision, shall pay fifty percent (50%) of the fee required of actively licensed attorneys.
(2) Attorneys age 65 or older licensed in this State who have certified that their primary source of income does not derive from the practice of law shall pay ten percent (10%) of the fee required of actively licensed attorneys.
(3) Upon request by an attorney or the attorney's representative, the Clerk shall have the discretion to place an attorney on voluntary non-payment status if the attorney is incapacitated due to injury, illness, or advanced age. Attorneys placed on voluntary non-payment status shall not practice law in this State and shall not be required to pay an annual license fee unless reinstated to active status.
B. LICENSE DENIED. No person shall be admitted to practice law in this State who has been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in any other state, unless good cause is shown.
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.
(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 on file with the Clerk for each licensed attorney who is required to pay the annual fee. However, attorneys may elect to be provided notices at their email address of record on file with the Clerk in lieu of service by mail.
(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) All deadlines imposed by this subsection shall be subject to the extension of time for deadlines occurring on a day when the Clerk's office is closed, as provided in Rule 9 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure--Civil.
(5) 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, and will result in a penalty in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the attorney's annual fee; that if the fee and penalty are not paid by April 1, an additional penalty of fifty percent (50%) of the attorney's annual fee 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 and; that the suspended attorney shall be listed as being in a suspended-license status in a per curiam opinion issued by the Supreme Court after April 15.
(6) 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 fifty percent (50%) of the attorney's annual fee; such notice shall also contain the same information included in the December notice.
(7) After 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 fifty percent (50%) of the attorney's annual fee; such notice shall also contain the same information included in the December notice.
(8) The final deadline for payment of the license fee and all penalties shall be April 15. Each attorney who fails to pay all fees and penalties by the final deadline shall be suspended thereafter from the practice of law in the State of Arkansas.
(9) The names of all suspended attorneys shall be listed by the Clerk in a per curiam opinion (the "April 16 per curiam") presented to the Court as soon as practicable after the final deadline. The Clerk shall promptly post a copy of the per curiam on the Court's website, send a copy of the per curiam to all state and federal judges in Arkansas by mail or email, and provide a copy to each attorney named in the per curiam in any manner permitted by Paragraph 2 of this subsection.
(10) For any attorney paying in full the license fee and all penalties due after the final deadline, the Clerk shall issue for payment in such form that the receipt shall act as proof of good standing as to the payment of the license fee until the final deadline of the year following suspension.
(11) The critical license-renewal dates are:
a. January 1 License fee due
b. March 2 Delinquency occurs and late-payment penalty of fifty percent (50%) of the attorney's annual fee imposed
c. April 2 Additional late-payment penalty of fifty (50%) of the attorney's annual fee imposed
d. April 15 Final deadline to pay license fee and penalties
e. April 16 The April 16 per curiam order shall issue listing those attorneys suspended for license fee and penalties not paid by the final deadline.
(12) Any attorney who believes his or her name is listed in the April 16 per curiam order by mistake, or that serious circumstances should serve as a basis to excuse the failure to pay, may appeal administratively within 30 days from the date of the per curiam by providing evidence of the mistake or serious and excusable mistake to the Clerk. Any appeal to the Clerk shall be accompanied by full tender to the Clerk of the license fee and all penalties in issue. Any appeal to the Clerk under this Rule shall not be docketed as a case before the Supreme Court, but shall be treated as an administrative matter with the Clerk.
(13) The Clerk will notify the attorney if the Clerk agrees that a mistake was made or that serious and excusable circumstances exist. If the Clerk determines that there was a mistake and that the license fee and any penalty due were timely paid or that serious and excusable circumstances exist, the matter will be concluded, and the attorney shall be reinstated retroactively as appropriate under the circumstances. Any excess payment received by the Clerk shall be refunded to the attorney within thirty (30) days of the Clerk's determination.
(14) If the Clerk concludes that there was no mistake or that there were no serious and excusable circumstances, the Clerk shall notify the attorney. Within thirty (30) days from receipt of the notice, the attorney may then petition the Supreme Court for retroactive license reinstatement. Any such original action shall be docketed as a civil case before the Court, be accompanied by the standard filing fee for a civil appeal, and shall identify the Clerk as the respondent. If the Court grants relief and orders retroactive reinstatement, any excess payment of license fee and penalties received by the Clerk shall be refunded to the attorney within thirty (30) days of the Court's order.
(15) Filing any administrative appeal or a petition for reinstatement shall automatically result in a stay of the license suspension from the date of filing until final action on the appeal or petition.
(16) Any time after April 15 of the first year and before a suspension of more than three (3) consecutive years, an attorney shall be reinstated upon payment of all license fees and penalties and a reinstatement filing fee of $100.
(17) If a suspension is for more than three (3) consecutive years, the attorney shall be deemed to have surrendered his or her license voluntarily, and the attorney's name shall be removed from the rolls of licensed attorneys. To be reinstated, application must be made to the Board of Law Examiners by the suspended attorney on a form supplied by the Executive Secretary of the Board and accompanied by a tender of all unpaid license fees and penalties and a Board reinstatement fee of $100.
(18) Periodically, the Clerk shall submit to the Court a proposed updated per curiam opinion consisting of two categories and listings of attorneys. Category One shall list all attorneys who are still in suspended-license status for nonpayment of license fee and penalties. Category Two shall list all attorneys who have become current on payment of fees and penalties since the last per curiam opinion on the status of license fees. The names of the attorneys appearing in Category Two shall not appear in subsequent periodic opinions issued.
(19) Attorneys who remain suspended for failure to pay the annual fee in a previous year after having been provided the pre-suspension notices required by this subsection in that previous year shall be deemed to be on notice of the suspension, and no further notice to the attorney is required.
(20) This subsection, as amended in 2015, shall not be applied retroactively to any year prior to 2015.
D. REINSTATEMENT. An application for reinstatement pursuant to paragraph (C)(17) of this Rule for non-payment of dues for more than three (3) years shall be accompanied by the payment of an application fee of $100.00 which shall be payable to the Board. All applications for reinstatement will be referred to the Board in accord with Rule XIII of these rules for investigation and recommendation and the taking of a new examination may be required by the Board.
E. PUBLIC RECORDS. It shall be the duty of the Clerk to maintain a public record of licensed attorneys in the state of Arkansas and a list of all attorneys no longer licensed and the reason therefore, e.g., deceased, suspended, disbarred, surrender of license, inactive, delinquency of fee, disabled or retired.
F. At the time of licensure, the new admittee shall provide a mailing address and an email address to the Clerk of this Court. The address on record with the Clerk shall constitute the address for service by mail, and the email address on record with the Clerk shall constitute the email address for service by email. Attorneys shall be responsible for informing the Clerk in writing and within a reasonable time of any change of such mailing address or email address. The Clerk may require any attorney to provide a mailing address or email address for service if the information was not provided at the time of licensure or if it appears the mailing address or email address is no longer valid or correct.
G. ATTORNEY OATH OF ADMISSION. The following oath shall be administered to and signed by members of the Arkansas Bar:
State of Arkansas )
In the Supreme Court )
To the Honorable, the Supreme Court of Arkansas:
Your petitioner prays to be licensed as an Attorney-at-Law.
I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR OR AFFIRM:
I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and I will faithfully perform the duties of attorney at law.
I will maintain the respect and courtesy due to courts of justice, judicial officers, and those who assist them.
I will, to the best of my ability, abide by the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct and any other standards of ethics proclaimed by the courts, and in doubtful cases I will attempt to abide by the spirit of those ethical rules and precepts of honor and fair play.
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.
I will not reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the impoverished, the defenseless, or the oppressed.
I will endeavor always to advance the cause of justice and to defend and to keep inviolate the rights of all persons whose trust is conferred upon me as an attorney at law.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this _____________ day of _____________________, 2_______.
OFFICIAL AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATH
(237 Ark. 977, January 1963; amended by Per Curiam May 18, 1992; amended by Per Curiam May 3, 1993; amended by Per Curiam June 17, 2004; amended by Per Curiam February 2, 2006; amended and effective by Per Curiam February 23, 2012; amended and effective November 20, 2014; amended and effective June 18, 2015; amended and effective November 17, 2016)