Attorneys - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find my attorney number (aka CPF account number)?

Rule 20-107(a)(2) requires attorneys to include their attorney numbers on pleadings. It is also required when registering for electronic filing. Look up your attorney number (aka CPF account number).

What is the Attorney Information System (“AIS”)?

The Administrative Offices of the Court has implemented the AIS to make it easier for attorneys to comply with annual reporting and payment requirements. Attorneys will receive an email notice to use AIS to pay their Client Protection Fund assessment, comply with the Federal Tax Identification Number disclosure, and submit their pro bono and IOLTA reports. Registration for AIS is mandatory. You may use any email address to register, but you should remember this is the only email address that system generated notices will be sent to. If you register using a work-related email address, and then change employers without updating your login email, you may not receive important notifications.

What is the purpose of the assessments?

The Attorney Grievance Commission (AGC) handles complaints against Maryland lawyers and all resulting disciplinary cases. Its assessment for the current fiscal year is $110. AGC’s budget is set by the Court of Appeals of Maryland. The Client Protection Fund of the Bar of Maryland ("CPF" or Fund) handles and decides claims against Maryland lawyers alleging theft of client or fiduciary funds. CPF’s assessment for the current fiscal year is $20 as fixed by the Court of Appeals of Maryland and by statute.

What is the Client Protection Fund fiscal year and what is the amount of the current year’s assessments?

The fiscal year for both AGC and CPF is July 1 thru June 30. On or before July 10 of each year, the annual assessment for the new fiscal year, and the reports, will be posted in attorneys AIS accounts. At that time, AIS will generate and send an email notification to each attorney who is responsible for an assessment, or who has volunteered to contribute to the Fund.

If admitted in December, you are assessed first on January 1, and assessed again on or before July 10 for the following fiscal year.

If admitted in January, you will be assessed on or before July 10.

Are there late fees and when are they charged?

Payments must be received within 60 days of the assessment date. A late fee of $25 will be assessed if payment is not received within 60 days (on or about September 10). An additional late fee of $50 will be assessed on any outstanding balance 120 days later (on or about January 10).

For those admitted in December, the assessment payment must be received no later than March 31 to avoid a late fee of $50 to be assessed on April 1.

What excuses are accepted for late payment or non-payment of the assessments?

CPF Regulations permit no excuse for late payment or non-payment. Up until FY2019, all invoices were mailed on or before July 1. Commencing FY2020 (July 2019), on or before July 10, assessments are generated in AIS and notification sent electronically to the email address used when registering with AIS. If you do not receive an assessment, it is your responsibility to contact CPF.

What does temporary suspension mean?

"Temporary Suspension" means the entry of an Order by the Court of Appeals prohibiting you from the practice of law in Maryland (see Rule 19-606) for non-payment to CPF of your assessment, including any related fees, and/or non-reporting of your Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) or statement that there is no such number. The temporary suspension process commences on or about February 15. Notice is sent electronically to all attorneys with any outstanding balance and/or who have not completed their TIN disclosure. Payment of all outstanding balances must be received, and TIN disclosure completed, by the specified date in the notice to avoid temporary suspension.

What happens if my check is returned by the bank?

Any bad check to the Fund for any payment will cause an additional penalty (currently $50) to be assessed against you and may also result in temporary suspension and loss of your privilege to practice law in Maryland.

If I am currently a full-time judicial law clerk do I have to pay the assessment?

If you are a full-time judicial law clerk (term), you must submit a letter on your respective Judge’s letterhead informing us of your status as a judicial law clerk and duration of same. Upon receipt of notice by the Fund, payment of the assessment is not required.

Is anyone exempt from paying into the fund?

Yes. As long as the “inactive, exempt status” is approved by their respective agencies Federal and Maryland Judges, U.S Magistrates, Maryland Masters in Chancery, Maryland Juvenile Masters, Maryland Orphan’s Court Judges, Administrative Agency Hearing Officers, and Administrative Law Judges with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings are exempt from payment to the Fund.

What if I am no longer practicing law?

Attorneys are permitted to change their status to “Inactive/Retired” between July 1 and August 31. If you have stopped practicing in Maryland and wish to go on Inactive/Retired Status, which preserves your Maryland eligibility for future return to practice, but meanwhile excuses you from annual assessments and reporting requirements, you must do two things:
(1) Be current on all assessments, including fees, and reporting requirements.
AND
(2) Furnish a notarized Affidavit of Inactive/Retired Status

The original notarized Affidavit of Inactive/Retired Status must be received by the Fund office no later than August 31 of the current fiscal year. Upon approval of inactive status, you will receive a letter confirming the status change.

December admittees must complete and return the Affidavit of Inactive/Retired Status on or before March 31 in order to be effective for the current fiscal year.

If I return to active practice, having been placed on inactive/retired, law clerk status, or judge/magistrate status, what am I required to do?

Each lawyer returning to active practice, either full or part-time or "of Counsel", must give written notice to the Fund, and must pay the current fiscal year’s assessment. The assessment is not prorated. This includes law clerks entering practice, Judges returning to practice, or inactive/retired attorneys wanting to reactivate their status.

What is my obligation for change of address and how do I accomplish this?

Rule 19-802(d) states, “Attorneys shall update their AIS account within 30 days of becoming aware of a change in the information. AIS and constituent agencies have the right to rely on the latest information in AIS for billing and disciplinary purposes and for other correspondence or communication.”

Changing your contact information in AIS does not update your MDEC information. AIS and MDEC are independent of one another. Read more information regarding MDEC, their policies and procedures, and their change of address form.

If my name has changed, what should I do?

To change your name on the roll of attorneys you must submit a written request to the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Contact the Clerk’s Office at (410) 260-1500 for further information.