The one thing we can count on is that plans change. You may have intended that your departure from practicing law was permanent. Sometimes, the reasons that compel us to exit stage left become replaced by reasons to return. How do we do it? Do you try to pick up where you left off or do you start somewhere else? If these are questions you are beginning to explore, here are some things to consider and some resources to help you with your journey.
OSB Membership Status
Are you an active status member of the Oregon State Bar? All voluntary transfers of status are eligible for reinstatement. The process is the same. Note that your OSB fees are not prorated or refunded. Thus, transferring from active to inactive status then back to active status will result in your paying more money. The voluntary status changes are: inactive membership status, retired membership status, active pro bono status, and Form A resignation.
Reinstatement with the OSB
Despite common fears of the bar exam, if you transferred voluntarily and were in good standing with the Bar at the time of your status change, there is only a slim chance that you will be required to take the bar exam. Happily, if you have been away from the active practice of law for less than five years, retaking the bar exam is not required. It is not uncommon for the OSB Board of Governors or Executive Director to request that you complete CLE credits prior to reinstatement if you have been away from the practice of law for a number of years. See the PLF website, www.osbplf.org > Services > CLEs & Resources tab on the menu to review past CLEs that can be viewed from the website or ordered as a DVD or CD.
For further regulatory questions, contact the OSB Regulatory Services at (503) 620-0222 or toll free in Oregon (800) 452-8260.
PLF Primary Coverage Plan
You have likely claimed an exemption from PLF coverage if you stopped the active private practice of law. If you are now entering private practice with a principal office in Oregon, you will need to activate coverage. You can complete the online form or call the PLF Accounting Department.
For further coverage questions, contact the PLF at (503) 639-6911 or toll free in Oregon (800) 452-1639 and ask for Jeff Crawford or Emilee Preble.
Pay your PLF Assessment
You may be eligible for an installment payment plan based on the number of months you require coverage. Your billing statement will be prorated from the month coverage is required through the end of the calendar year. If you work one day in the month, you will need coverage for that month. Please see the PLF website under the Assessments and Exemptions tab, Begin Coverage for details.
For further assessment questions, contact the PLF Accounting Department at (503) 924-1771 or toll free in Oregon (800) 452-1639.
Practice Management Support
The PLF Practice Management Advisors (PMAs) can assist you with starting your own law firm. For questions, contact the PMAs at (503) 639-6911 or toll free in Oregon (800) 452-1639 and ask for Sheila Blackford, Hong Dao, or Rachel Edwards. Practice management services are free and confidential.
Practice Aids and Forms
The PLF has a great variety of practice aids and forms covering topics from adoptions to workers’ compensation. To help you open your law firm, see the category Opening a Law Office where you will find two helpful aids: Checklist for Opening a Law Office and Home-Based Law Office. If you prefer buying an existing law practice, see the category Buying a Law Practice where you will find the helpful aid: Checklist for Buying a Law Practice.
The PLF has a variety of publications that are available as a PDF download or ordered from the website https://www.osbplf.org.
Books from the PLF:
A Guide to Setting Up & Running Your Law Office (2019)
Oregon Statutory Time Limitations Handbook (2018)
In Brief – information on how to avoid legal malpractice, technology updates, practice tips, and resources of interest to Oregon lawyers.
inPractice – information on practice management from the PLF PMAs.
Short Video Podcasts:
The Oregon Attorney Assistance Program (OAAP) Attorney Counselors can provide assistance with and referral for problem alcohol, drug, and/or other substance use; stress management; time management; career transition; compulsive disorders; relationships; depression; anxiety; and other issues that affect your ability to function effectively. Call one of the OAAP Attorney Counselors at (503) 226-1057 or toll free in Oregon (800) 321-6227. OAAP services are free and confidential.
- Doug Querin at DouglasQ@oaap.org, or at 503-226-1057, ext. 12, or
- Bryan Welch at BryanW@oaap.org or at 503-226-1057, ext. 19.
In Sight – information that helps lawyers and judges to improve the quality of their personal and professional lives.