October 22, 2008
Council Raises Fee Assessments Paid by Disciplined Attorneys and Reinstatement Petitioners
The Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia require that sanctioned respondents and reinstatement petitioners pay the costs of their proceedings. As defined by the rules, costs include reasonable expenses for experts and witnesses, court reporters, copying, mailing, required publication, and an administrative charge determined by Council. Va. Sup. Ct. R. Part 6, § IV, P.13A. The amount of the administrative charges is set by the Virginia State Bar Council.
At its meeting on October 17, 2008, the council increased the administrative charge. The cost of administering the disciplinary system and the clerk’s office has increased significantly over the last few years. The increase will partially offset those expenses and shift some of the increased fiscal burden to lawyers who are disciplined and who create the need for the system.
The administrative charge was originally set by the council in 1990 at $300 for all cases. It has been increased once in eighteen years. In 2001, the council increased the fee to $500 for district committee cases and $750 for board and three-judge court cases. In 2002, a $200 fee was added for subcommittee cases.
The assessment changes are:
- subcommittee cases: from $200 to $500;
- district committee cases: from $500 to $750;
- Disciplinary Board and three-judge court cases: from $750 to $1,000;
- reinstatement cases from $750 to $1,500.
The administrative charge for reinstatement cases is higher than other Disciplinary Board matters because those cases are more labor-intensive and expensive to administer. These fees apply only to members who have been sanctioned and petitioners seeking to be reinstated. The new fees are effective immediately.