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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I become a member of the South Carolina Bar?

2. I have just been sworn into the South Carolina Bar. Will I have to pay a Bar license fee immediately?

3. When are license fees due?

4. Can I pay my fees online?

5. What happens if I do not pay my Bar license fees?

6. If I cannot pay my Bar license fee, is there a hardship exemption?

7. If I decide to terminate my membership with the South Carolina Bar, how do I resign?

8. How do I change my status to Inactive?

9. While on Inactive status, am I required to pay license fees or comply with CLE requirements?      

10. I am currently on Inactive status. How do I change my status back to Active?

11. How do I change my name in the South Carolina Bar records?

12. How do I change my address, telephone, fax or e-mail information in the South Carolina Bar records?

13. My information in the online directory is incorrect. How do I update it?

14. How do I get a replacement South Carolina Bar card?

15. I would like to check on the status of an attorney. Who should I contact?

16. How do I file a complaint against my attorney or report a problem with my attorney?

17. Does the South Carolina Bar sell or rent its mailing list?

18. How can I find a lawyer?

19. I am having trouble logging onto Casemaker. With whom should I speak?

20. How can I check my CLE credit hours?

21. How do I obtain a copy of my Bar application?

22. Where can I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?

23. What is an IOLTA account?

24. Does the South Carolina Bar have a Lending Library?

25. Can I call or stop by the Bar offices to talk to an attorney?

ANSWERS

1. How can I become a member of the South Carolina Bar?

Admission to the South Carolina Bar is first sought through the South Carolina Board of Law Examiners or, for limited licenses, the Clerk of the Supreme Court of SC. An application and information about admission may be obtained by calling the board at (803) 734-1080 or writing to the board at P.O. Box 11330, Columbia, SC 29211. The bar admission office is located at 1231 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201.Office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. excluding state holidays. Additional information may be found at www.sccourts.org.

2. I have just been sworn into the South Carolina Bar. Will I have to pay a Bar license fee immediately?

Bar members sworn in between January and June will be billed half year dues in August and later for the next calendar year. Members sworn in between July and December will be billed for the following full year.

3. When are license fees due?

License fees are due no later than January 1 of each year. Invoices are mailed to members in November.

4. Can I pay my fees online?

Yes. Click here.

5. What happens if I do not pay my Bar license fees?

Bar members who do not pay the annual license fee will be administratively suspended by the Supreme Court. The Court also publishes a list of members who do not pay in the Advance Sheets.

6. If I cannot pay my Bar license fee, is there a hardship exemption?

License fees are collected in accordance with Rule 410(c), SCACR. There is not an exemption for hardship.

7. If I decide to terminate my membership with the South Carolina Bar, how do I resign?

You must petition the S.C. Supreme Court for resignation. Petitions can be sent to Dan Shearouse, Clerk of the S.C. Supreme Court, P.O. Box 11330, Columbia, SC 29211.

8. How do I change my status to Inactive?

To request a status change, you must log on to the Attorney Information System at www.sccourts.org/ais to begin the process.

9. While on Inactive status, am I required to pay license fees or comply with CLE requirements?

Inactive members are required to pay annual license fees but are not required to complete annual CLE hours.

10. I am currently on Inactive status. How do I change my status back to Active?

Any time throughout the year that you want to change your status to Active and have intentionally paid the Inactive fee for that year, you must pay the difference. If you have been Inactive for less than 12 months, you will only need to send the written request and pay the fee difference.  

If you have been Inactive for longer than 12 months, you must file 14 hours of CLE and pay the difference to become Active again. Please contact Donette Welch at the Commission on CLE and Specialization regarding your hours at commcle@bellsouth.net or (803) 799-5578.

11. How do I change my name in the South Carolina Bar records?

To change your name, you must log on to the Attorney Information System at www.sccourts.org/ais.

12. How do I change my address, telephone, fax or e-mail information in the South Carolina Bar records?

You may update your information by logging on to the Attorney Information System at www.sccourts.org/ais.

13. My information in the online directory is incorrect. How do I update it?

You may update your information by logging on to the Attorney Information System at www.sccourts.org/ais.

14. How do I get a replacement South Carolina Bar card?

To receive a replacement Bar ID card, e-mail Libby Breitenbaugh at lbreitenbaugh@scbar.org or call (803) 799-6653, ext. 111. Replacement cards are $5. If you prefer a photo ID card you may come by the Bar office any time during business hours. If you are unable to come to the Bar office, you can e-mail your photo to Donna Oelhafen at doelhafen@scbar.org. A member’s first photo ID card is free. Replacement cards are $10.

15. I would like to check on the status of an attorney. Who should I contact?

You can check the status of an attorney on the Bar’s website by clicking this link or by calling the Membership Services Division at (803) 799-6653, ext. 111.

16. How do I file a complaint against my attorney or report a problem with my attorney?

If you have an issue with your attorney that you believe can be resolved, you should participate in the Client Assistance Program. If you believe that there has been an ethical violation, you should contact the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (which is a division under the S.C. Supreme Court) at 1015 Sumter St., Ste. 305, Columbia, SC 29201.

17. Does the South Carolina Bar sell or rent its mailing list?

Yes. You may rent the Bar’s mailing list for a one time use. Click here to access the form. Questions about the process should be directed to Donna Oelhafen at doelhafen@scbar.org or (803) 799-6653, ext. 171.

18. How can I find a lawyer?

The Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service can direct you to a qualified, prescreened attorney in one of more than 100 areas of law. You can access the service online by clicking here or by telephone at 1-800-868-2284.   

19. I am having trouble logging onto Casemaker. With whom should I speak?

If you are having a problem logging on to Casemaker, please e-mail casemaker@scbar.org or call (803) 799-6653, ext. 118.

20. How can I check my CLE credit hours?

You can check your CLE credit hours with the Commission on CLE and Specialization at http://www.commcle.org.

21. How do I obtain a copy of my Bar application?

To obtain a copy of your Bar application, contact the Office of Bar Admissions at (803) 734-1080.

22. Where can I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?

Certificates of Good Standing are issued by the S.C. Supreme Court. Contact Bar Admissions at (803) 734-1080.

23. What is an IOLTA account?

IOLTA stands for Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts. IOLTA revenues are generated when clients transfer money to an attorney to hold. When the amount is large or if the funds are to be held for a long period of time, lawyers invest those funds for the benefit of the client. But, when the funds are small or expected to be held for a short time, they cannot practically be invested to benefit the owner of the funds. The IOLTA program require attorneys to have these accounts that generate interest income. Eligible financial institutions send the interest directly to the S.C. Bar Foundation, which distributes the funds as grants to a variety of initiatives that support the justice system.

24. Does the South Carolina Bar have a Lending Library?

The Bar’s Lending Library has a number of practice management books and materials, including billing and finance, career issues, client relations, management and technology. The library does not include books sold in the CLE Publication Store. Only members of the Bar may check out a book. The list of books and instructions on checking out a book is online here www.scbar.org/pmap/lendinglibrary. For more details contact Courtney Kennaday at pmap@scbar.org or (803) 799-6653, ext. 183.

25. Can I call or stop by the Bar offices to talk to an attorney?

No. There are no practicing attorneys at the S.C. Bar offices. If you need legal advice, you should consult an attorney. If you need assistance finding an attorney, the Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service can direct you to a qualified, prescreened attorney in one of more than 100 areas of law. You can access the service online by clicking here or by telephone at 1-800-868-2284. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can call the Legal Aid Intake Service at 1-888-346-5592.