New Jersey's judges and lawyers, as well as pro hac vice attorneys, multijurisdictional attorneys, in-house counsel, and foreign legal consultants, pay for the Fund. Each of these has an annual obligation to fulfill. That obligation is to:
The amount of the fee for judges and for those New Jersey attorneys who hold plenary licenses is based on the calendar year of admission. For the first and second calendar years of admission, there is no fee. The fee is $25 for the third and fourth years, and $50 for the fifth through forty-ninth years. Lawyers admitted fifty years or more are exempt from the fee. The amount of the fee for pro hac vice attorneys, multijurisdictional attorneys, in-house counsel, and foreign legal consultants is the same as the fee for attorneys in the fifth through forty-ninth years. These fees provide the resources necessary to operate the Fund and pay claims. The funds are invested in interest-bearing accounts and government backed securities to provide additional revenue. The Fund also seeks to recover money paid on claims, as described below.
There is another, larger, component of the annual assessment collected by the Fund which pays for the disciplinary system and a smaller portion that supports the Lawyers Assistance Program. New Jersey attorneys begin paying this component in the second calendar year of admission. There is no delay in payments for pro hac vice attorneys, multijurisdictional attorneys, in-house counsel, and foreign legal consultants.
The Fund is administered by a Board of Trustees composed of five lawyers and two non-lawyers appointed by the Supreme Court to serve staggered five year terms without compensation. The Board of Trustees employs full-time staff at the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton to handle the Fund's affairs.
A claimant must prove:
It is necessary to submit specific proof of payment of funds to an attorney, such as copies of front and reverse side of checks, supporting documents such as escrow agreements, settlement statements or retainer agreements. Although the Fund staff will assist in identifying proofs, the primary burden is on the claimant to demonstrate the compensability of a claim. The Fund has subpoena power for use when necessary.
Respondents receive a copy of each claim including documentation provided, with an invitation to reply with proofs of their own.
Yes. All attorneys are required to file an annual registration, even those who have been granted an exemption from payment. This keeps the Court informed about your current status and provides attorneys an opportunity to 1) make changes and/or remit payment if they no longer qualify for the exemption, 2) respond to other portions of the registration, and 3) update their mailing or email addresses. Please access the Online Registration and Payment Center to respond.
You have an ongoing duty to immediately inform the Fund if you no longer qualify for the exemption previously granted (such as no longer in military or if you come out of retired status), and to keep your address current with the Fund. You can access the Online Registration and Payment Center to activate your license or to update your mailing or email address.