Virginia State Bar members will get a little more for their money this year – a temporary bar card that will be replaced in December by a permanent card that will not have to be replaced annually.
VSB Executive Director Karen A. Gould said the change ultimately will save money because it will eliminate the second mailing containing the bar card after a member has paid his or her dues.
The VSB mailed the annual dues statements for 2010-11 this week. The dues – $250 for active members plus a $25 assessment for the Clients’ Protection Fund – must be paid by July 31 to avoid a penalty.
Active, active/Virginia corporate counsel and emeritus members will get a bar card with a Dec. 31 expiration date. They will receive permanent cards with no expiration date before the temporary card expires.
Associate members will receive permanent cards after they pay their dues for 2010-11.
VSB members in other categories – judicial, corporate counsel registrants, retired and disabled – will no longer be issued bar cards.
A member who changes status will receive the appropriate card at no charge. Replacement cards will be provided for a $10 fee.
VSB President-Elect Irving Blank was a proponent of the move to a permanent bar card, and the VSB surveyed court clerks and sheriffs because attorneys with a bar card get expedited admission to some courthouses. They also are allowed to bring cell phones, computers and other electronic devices into some courthouse when members of the public are not.
Gould said sheriffs would have liked to have the VSB provide photo ID for attorneys, but that would have increased the cost by about $10 a card.
By early next year, the VSB will be able to obtain a permanent bar card with a photo for a fee, probably $10 or $15, Gould said.
Attorneys who want a card with photo ID will have to provide an electronic image of themselves that will be printed on the card.
By Alan Cooper