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Upcoming Changes to Attorney Registration

Late Fee Changes 

By Order dated February 25, 2019, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania amended Rule 219(f) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement to alter the dates by which an attorney must complete the annual registration requirement to avoid the assessment of non-waivable late payment penalties.

Commencing with 2019-2020 annual registration, a new registration timeline is in effect.

Annual attorney registration opens on or before May 15 and is due July 1 each year. An attorney must complete registration on or before July 16 to avoid the assessment of the first non-waivable late payment penalty; and an attorney must complete registration on or before August 1 to avoid assessment of the second non-waivable late payment penalty.

After the assessment of the second late penalty, the list of remaining un-registered attorneys will be certified to the Supreme Court for administrative suspension.

With registration now mandatorily electronic, the efficiency of processing registrations and payments has significantly increased making a prolonged registration period unnecessary. Pursuant to yearly registration statistics, the majority of attorneys (over 95%) complete annual registration timely and without penalty. The previous registration timeline was created when registration was completed solely by paper; the processing of 70,000+ paper registration forms being quite time consuming.

Succession Planning Section

Succession planning is essential to every attorney’s practice. Recognizing that the future is unpredictable, attorneys should strive to lessen the impact of unexpected interruption in their relationships with clients by taking protective measures.

An additional section regarding succession planning will be on the registration form starting this year. The section will require you to indicate whether you have or have not designated a successor. Although you are required to provide a response in this section, failure to have a designated successor is NOT a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement.

We believe by asking the question and sparking dialogue in the profession, perhaps we can address the concern that exists nationwide. For more information on this topic, please review the thoughtful article previously presented by Disciplinary Board Member Dion G. Rassias here

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