Going inactive while clerking

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Anonymous User
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Going inactive while clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:34 am

I'm a few months into year 2 of a 2-year clerkship, which is poised to end in October (I may finish out the year or stay a third year, depending on my co-clerk's schedule).

I don't want to pay the $450 CA bar fees unless, so I'm planning on going inactive. It's my understanding that you can go inactive while clerking, correct? And does anyone have any experience with going back to active status (i.e., how long it can take)? And do we need to do MCLEs even if inactive?

I may or may not be going into practice toward the end of 2014, so I need to keep the option open, but I'd rather not pay the annual fees and do MCLEs, etc., if I don't have to.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:45 am

Not in California, but most of the career clerks I knew were inactive for exactly the reasons you list. The CA bar website should tell you what you need to know about how to become active again, but for my state it was literally a matter of sending in a form and paying dues - not complicated at all and took only as long as the office needed to process it (a few days). And again, check with the CA bar, but my understanding was that the whole point of being inactive was not to have to do CLEs.

The only thing to keep in mind is that I have seen some government positions count years of experience as years of being actively licensed to practice law. But that's a very small consideration.

Citizen Genet
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby Citizen Genet » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:47 am

Something to look into: some states reduce the fees for government attorneys. Knowing California, that's probably not the case, but you may check into it just in case.

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Opinions_R_Us
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby Opinions_R_Us » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:35 am

I'm not sure about California where nothing would surprise me but in every state I am familiar with, you must be an active member of the bar in good standing to hold a judicial clerkship.

Depending upon how long you plan to remain inactive. If is is only a year or two, it might not make any economic sense because to reactivate your license is usually not cheap and in many states a required professionalism CLE which cost another few hundred $$ is required before you can regain active status as well.

Anonymous User
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:39 am

Well, I know you don't have to be active to clerk in Colorado, and I'm pretty sure my co-clerk in federal district court was inactive. The only cost to return to active status was to pay the regular active fees and no professionalism course was required. Does your state not have an option to go inactive between being active and letting your licensure lapse completely?

Anonymous User
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:54 pm

Does anyone know whether you can apply to waive in to the DC Bar while inactive?

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ndirish2010
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby ndirish2010 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:16 pm

It may be true that you have to be active to clerk for a state judge, but it's not to be a federal clerk. This is the same in every state, as far as I know (I don't think state law can alter that).

Anonymous User
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:51 pm

Bumping this.

I am in the same position (about to start a fed clerkship in CA, licensed in CA). Does anyone have definitive info on this? I've looked everywhere and can't find anything.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:50 pm

I would ask either your court HR people or the state bar or both. I have never seen active membership required to clerk, and don't think it's required for federal clerks, but worth checking (you may want to check if your judge cares. I can't see why they would, but you never know).

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rpupkin
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:40 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would ask either your court HR people or the state bar or both. I have never seen active membership required to clerk, and don't think it's required for federal clerks, but worth checking (you may want to check if your judge cares. I can't see why they would, but you never know).

Good advice.

Something else to consider: I stayed in active status through my clerkship year, paid my bar dues in January (while clerking), and then, when I started at my post-clerkship firm in November, the firm reimbursed me for the bar dues I had paid ten months earlier.

Anonymous User
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:05 pm

You definitely are not required to be active status to be a federal clerk, because in fact you're not required to have taken a bar at all (I know a few people whose clerkships started in June or July, so they put off taking the bar until the end of their clerkship).

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sundance95
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby sundance95 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You definitely are not required to be active status to be a federal clerk, because in fact you're not required to have taken a bar at all (I know a few people whose clerkships started in June or July, so they put off taking the bar until the end of their clerkship).

I just called Cal State Bar member services, and they said active status is required. :(

Although bar membership isn't required for clerking, once you're a member of the bar you have to comply with the State Bar Act and bar rules. I think that is the source of the obligation.

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nevdash
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Re: Going inactive while clerking

Postby nevdash » Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:51 pm

Although you have to be active (I called the CA bar and received the same information when I was clerking), I was pleasantly surprised to find out that you don't have any CLE obligation when you're clerking. I don't know if the state bar's positions on active status and CLE are related, but they view federal clerks as falling within the "full-time practicing attorney for the federal government" CLE exemption (I also received this info after speaking with someone at the state bar directly).




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