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In re Amendment of Rules 219(D)(2), (F), and (K) of Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

November 18, 2019

IN RE: AMENDMENT OF RULES 219(d)(2), (f), (h)(2), (j)(1) and (2), and (k) OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT

         DISCIPLINARY RULES DOCKET

          ORDER

          PER CURIAM

         AND NOW, this 18th day of November, 2019, upon the recommendation of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; the proposal having been submitted without publication in the interests of justice and efficient administration pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(a)(3):

         IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Rules 219(d)(2), (f), (h)(2), (j)(1) and (2), and (k) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement are amended in the attached form.

         This ORDER shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective in 30 days.

         Rule 219. Annual registration of attorneys. ***

         (d) On or before July 1 of each year, all attorneys required by this rule to pay an annual fee shall electronically file with the Attorney Registration Office an electronically endorsed form prescribed by the Attorney Registration Office in accordance with the following procedures:

***

(2) Payment of the annual fee shall be made in one of two ways: a) electronically by credit or debit card at the time of electronic transmission of the form through the online system of the Attorney Registration Office, which payment shall include a nominal fee to process the electronic payment; or b) by check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank, in U.S. dollars using a printable, mail-in voucher. IOLTA, trust, escrow and other fiduciary account checks tendered in payment of the annual fee will not be accepted. If the annual fee form, voucher or payment is incomplete or if a [check in] payment of the annual fee has been returned to the Board unpaid, the annual fee shall not be deemed to have been paid until a collection fee, and one or both of the late payment penalties prescribed in subdivision (f) of this rule if assessed, shall also have been paid. The amount of the collection fee shall be established by the Board annually after giving due regard to the direct and indirect costs incurred by the Board during the preceding year for [checks] payment returned to the Board unpaid.

***

         (f) Any attorney who fails to complete registration by July 16 shall be automatically assessed a non-waivable late payment penalty established by the Board. A second, non-waivable late payment penalty established by the Board shall be automatically added to the delinquent account of any attorney who has failed to complete registration by August 1, at which time the continued failure to comply with this rule shall be deemed a request to be administratively suspended. Thereafter, the Attorney Registration Office shall certify to the Supreme Court the name of every attorney who has failed to comply with the registration and payment requirements of this rule, and the Supreme Court shall enter an order administratively suspending the attorney. The Chief Justice may delegate the processing and entry of orders under this subdivision to the Court Prothonotary. Upon entry of an order of administrative suspension, the Attorney Registration Office shall transmit by certified mail, addressed to the last known mailing address of the attorney, or by electronic means, the order of administrative suspension and a notice that the attorney shall comply with Enforcement Rule 217 (relating to formerly admitted attorneys), a copy of which shall be included with the notice.

         For purposes of assessing the late payment penalties prescribed by this subdivision (f), registration shall not be deemed to be complete until the Attorney Registration Office receives a completed annual fee form and satisfactory payment of the annual fee and of all outstanding collection fees and late payment penalties. If [a check in] payment of the delinquency has been returned to the Board unpaid, a collection fee, as established by the Board under subdivision (d)(2) of this rule, shall be added to the attorney's delinquent account and registration shall not be deemed to be complete until the delinquent account has been paid in full.

         ***

         (h) An attorney who has been administratively suspended pursuant to subdivision (f) for three years or less is not eligible to file the annual fee form electronically. The procedure for reinstatement is as follows:

***

Where [a check in] payment of the fees and late payment penalties has been returned to the Board unpaid, the Attorney Registration Office shall immediately return the attorney to administrative suspension, and the arrears shall not be deemed to have been paid until a collection fee, as established by the ...

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