Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

First Amendment Challenges to Mandatory Bar Association Membership and Attorney Professional Licensing Fees

July 2019 Bar Bulletin

By Mark Johnson

(First of Two Parts)

Abstract and Issues

Given the important role that lawyers play in our democracy’s justice system, the practice of law is by necessity a highly regulated profession. States have an imperative interest in ensuring high quality legal services by admitting, and permitting, to practice law only those who have demonstrated, and who maintain, competence and commitment sufficient to comply with both our representational responsibilities and our professional ethical prescriptions.

More than 30 states, including Washington, require lawyers to be members of the state’s bar association as a condition of practicing law. These “mandatory” bar...

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