OSB Professional Liability Fund

Entrance Stage Right: How to Resume the Practice of Law

June 1, 2018
by Sheila Blackford

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 >CLE tab on the menu to review past CLEs that can be viewed from the website or ordered as a DVD or CD.

Reinstatement Application BR 8.2 is for members who have been away from the active practice of law in Oregon for less than five years, measured from the effective date of your status transfer. The BR 8.2 must be notarized and submitted with a $250 reinstatement fee. You do not need to include a fingerprint card but will need to disclose your Social Security number on the application. This process rarely takes longer than two months. Here is the link to the BR 8.2 form:  http://www.osbar.org/_docs/forms/br8.2.pdf
Reinstatement Application BR 8.1 is for members who have been away from the active practice of law in Oregon for five years or longer. The BR 8.1 must be notarized and submitted with a $500 reinstatement fee and a release form including your Social Security number. Because the Oregon Supreme Court must approve all BR 8.1 reinstatement applications, the process generally takes several months. In addition, the OSB Executive Director may recommend that the BR 8.1 reinstatement application be reviewed by the OSB Board of Governors before being submitted to the court, which will increase the processing time. Here is the link to the BR 8.1 form: http://www.osbar.org/_docs/forms/br8.1.pdf
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.
Publications. The PLF has a variety of publications that are available as a PDF download or ordered from the website  https://www.osbplf.org/practice-management/publications.html.
Books from the PLF:
                A Guide to Setting Up & Running Your Law Office (2016)
                Oregon Statutory Time Limitations Handbook (2014)
Newsletter.  In Briefinformation on how to avoid legal malpractice, technology updates, practice tips, and resources of interest to Oregon lawyers.
Blog.  inPracticeinformation on practice management from the PLF PMAs.
Short Video Podcasts:  
How to Use Quick Steps in Outlooka short video that shows you how to save time by using Outlook’s “quick step” feature for tasks like making appointments and sending emails to groups. PMA Hong Dao guides you through step-by-step instructions to begin using this useful feature.
How to Create a Transparent Personal Electronic Signaturea short video that shows you how to create a standalone electronic signature that you can insert in Word documents. PLF Practice Management Advisor Rachel Edwards gives you detailed instructions on how to create, crop, sharpen, resize, and save your signature, as well as how to include your typewritten name and firm name in the signature. 
How to Create a Pleading Template in Worda short video that shows you how to create your own pleading templates rather than use a standardized template. Former PLF Practice Management Advisor Jennifer Meisberger walks you through each step of the process, including creating the title, caption, body, line numbering, footer, and then saving the template.  
How to Use the Signature Function in Outlook for Email Signatures and Templatesa short video that shows you how to create different signatures in Outlook. PLF Practice Management Advisor Sheila Blackford leads you through the simple process of how to create and customize your signature, insert an electronic business card, a picture, or logo, and a hyperlink to your social media accounts.
Personal Support. 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 and ask for Shari Gregory, Karen Neri, Douglas Querin, or Bryan Welch. OAAP services are free and confidential.
Ongoing Weekly Confidential Recovery Support Groups - For questions about our meetings or other information, please contact OAAP Attorney Counselors:
*For an article with answers to frequently asked questions about 12-step programs, click here.
Lawyers in Transition Calendar – A “Lawyers in Transition” guest speaker is featured on the first Thursday each quarter at noon at the OAAP offices, 520 SW Yamhill, Suite 1050, Portland. Presentations are open for attendance. See calendar for scheduled speakers.
Finding Meaningful Work - The group will be facilitated by OAAP Attorney Counselor Shari R. Gregory, LCSW, JD. To participate, please contact Shari at 503-226-1057, ext. 14, or at sharig@oaap.org
ADHD Monthly Support Group for Lawyers - If you are interested in participating in this group, contact Bryan at 503-226-1057 or 1-800- 321-6227, ext. 19, or e-mail him at bryanw@oaap.org.
Newsletter.  In Sightinformation that helps lawyers and judges to improve the quality of their personal and professional lives.
If you have a question not covered here, please contact me at 503-684-7421 or sheilab@osbplf.org.