Starting a law practice in New Jersey, Part 2

Part 2…

So, you passed the bar and took the attorney’s oath. You sent in your card, now what. The folks at the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners were not all that helpful. I thought the best place to turn might be the State Bar Association but could not join until my status as an attorney could be verified. It is now three weeks since I sent in my card and still I am not listed on the Attorney’s Role (which is required before you can join the New Jersey State Bar Association). No help from the NJSBA.

As I was searching online I did stumble upon this page which I thought was helpful but not exactly what I was looking for. I also stumbled on the FAQ for admitted attorneys which could have been helpful if I wanted a phone number for CLEs (a later discussion), a wall license, and information about Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. All important stuff but nothing to help me actually get started. Finally, I found a website on the NJ Courts website that gave me a Office of Attorney Ethics (AOE) FAQ. This finally pointed me to a simple question, The one that I had been looking for! “What must I do if I want to engage in the private practice of law in New Jersey?” Click on that link and you will find that all you have to do is:

In order to engage in private practice in New Jersey, you must:
a. pay the annual assessment;

b. complete the attorney annual registration statement and keep the data current throughout the year;

c. maintain a bona fide office under R.1:21-1(a);

d. fulfill the requirements of R. 1:21-6, including trust and business accounts in an approved New Jersey financial institution;

e. keep trust accounts IOLTA-compliant (R. 1:28A); and

f. maintain required levels of malpractice insurance under Court Rules if practicing in a P.A., P.C., L.L.P., or L.L.C.

So, all I had to do follow those 6 easy steps. After much more searching and phone calls. Leaving messages without return calls and more web searching this is what I came up with. I did finally reach someone at the NJ Board of Bar Examiners that confessed to receiving my card and had it in his hand. He said that at the moment of my taking the Attorney’s Oath then I was o.k. to practice law. So many conflicting messages.

The 6 easy steps in the next installment!

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