by Andrew Walden
Honolulu Councilmember and Congressional candidate Stanley Chang has lost his right to practice law in Hawaii after being suspended from membership by the Hawaii Bar Association.
According to the Bar Association website, Chang, who joined the Bar in 2008, has been suspended for non-payment of dues.
Chang did not respond to an emailed request for comment. His campaign website touts "his ability to accomplish the day-to-day work of government while looking to the future." According to the site, Chang graduated from Harvard Law school but, "left his upward career as a real estate attorney in downtown Honolulu to engage in a conversation with his neighbors in District 4...."
UPDATE: Hawai'i Free Press received the following response from Stanley Chang the evening of May 19: "Thank you for your inquiry. I've made public service my life's work and allowed my membership to lapse as I have no plans to practice law in the future."
On condition of anonymity, an official of the Hawaii Bar Association explained the meaning of suspension and the procedure for reinstatement:
"The 2013 mandatory licensing fees for active members practicing 1-4 years was $329, active members practicing for more than 5 years - $504, and inactive members born after 1942 - $153. For a full list of the licensing fees view the following chart: LINK.
"Regarding your question: 'if an attorney is suspended for non-payment of dues, what must he/she do to be reinstated?', please see the following from the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii:
Failure to file or pay. Failure to file a properly completed attorney registration statement or nonpayment of any dues, fees, or charges required by these rules, after 15 days written notice, shall result in automatic suspension by the Hawai‘i State Bar, of membership and the right to practice law until reinstatement. The Board of Directors of the Bar (1) may establish late processing fees and reinstatement charges and (2) may exempt from the registration requirements inactive attorneys who do not maintain active licenses and do not practice law in any other jurisdiction.
(A) After failure to file or pay. Any attorney suspended for failure to file a complete registration statement or pay dues and fees shall be reinstated by the Hawai‘i State Bar without further order upon:
(i) payment to the Bar of all arrears and a late processing and reinstatement fee in such amount as shall be determined by the Board of Directors of the Bar from time to time, and
(ii) satisfaction of such other requirements as may be imposed by the Board of Directors of the Bar and/or the supreme court.
The reinstatement fee is currently $300. So members who wish to be reinstated must pay the reinstatement fee + dues from their status at the time they were suspended multiplied by the number of years they’ve been suspended. Please note that there are slightly different steps for those who are reinstated as inactive status and those who are reinstated as active status members. For those who are reinstated to inactive status, members must pay the reinstatement fee and back dues. For those who are reinstated to active status, there is an additional requirement of completing 3 MCPE within 3 months (on top of the three credits that are mandatory for the year for all active members) + paying the reinstatement fee + paying back dues. If you need any clarification on this, please let us know.
Here’s info on the three MCPE requirement:
Mandatory Continuing Professional Education. Except as otherwise provided herein, every active member of the Bar shall complete at least 3 credit hours per year of approved Mandatory Continuing Professional Education (MCPE). Qualifying professional education topics include the Hawai‘i Rules of Professional Conduct, legal ethics and related topics, law office management, client trust account administration, bias awareness and prevention, access to justice, case and client management, and malpractice insurance and prevention. The Hawai‘i Professionalism course required under Rule 1.14 of these rules fulfills the 3 credit hours of this section, but standard MCPE courses described in this section do not conversely fulfill the requirements of Rule 1.14 of these rules.