Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer announced during the 2019 State of Judiciary address that the Supreme Court adopted a Pro Bono Waiver of Annual Enrollment Fee rule.
Effective January 1, 2020, retired and other inactive Missouri lawyers in good standing will be able to request a waiver of the Missouri annual enrollment fee if the lawyer’s sole practice is providing pro bono legal services through an approved legal services organization.
Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s Volunteer Attorney Project (VAP) was chosen by the Supreme Court of Missouri to begin a pilot program to test and assess the pro bonowaiver approbation. The pilot project kicked off on February 1, 2019.
VAP has successfully removed other barriers to service for lawyers including offering free CLEs and insurance coverage, yet the bar dues issue was beyond the program’s control and has remained a major deterrence for retired attorneys.