CALL FOR COMMENTS - Proposed Revisions to the Bylaws of the Wyoming State Bar
The Board of Officers and Commissions has approved the request to put the following proposed revisions out for comment to the members. Comments will be accepted until December 31, 2012.
Through the years, these bylaws have been revised from time to time on a piecemeal basis. There has never been a comprehensive re-write, though those who work with them regularly—such as the Bar staff—have long recognized that one is needed. Many provisions of the present bylaws are outdated and inapplicable. As presently constituted, the bylaws were not written with certain innovations (such as electronic communications) in mind. They contain internal contradictions and inconsistencies. They lack clarity in important particulars. They were written in a different time for a different world.
The proposed revisions are in the strikethrough/underscore format preferred by the Wyoming Supreme Court. Strikethroughs indicate language in the current bylaws that will be deleted in the revised version. New provisions are underscored. Where necessary and helpful, explanatory notes appear in boxes following particular revisions.
The most significant change appears in Section 3, Status of Membership, and deals specifically with the time frames within which Inactive status members may return to Active status without the need to retake the bar exam. The present bylaws limit the duration of Inactive status for in-state members to 36 months. If those members don't seek a return to Active status within that time, they must re-take the bar exam. Out-of-state practitioners may continue in Inactive status indefinitely, and their return to Active status is conditioned only upon a certification that they have been engaged in the active practice of law in another jurisdiction. Furthermore, the present bylaws do not expressly indicate what "active" or "in-active" status mean with respect to the member's right to serve Wyoming clients, i.e., is it permissible for inactive, out-of-state practitioners to do legal work for Wyoming clients?
The proposed revisions:
- Clarify that only Active members are authorized to practice law, and define that term. Inactive status members are not authorized to practice law in Wyoming.
- Provide that Inactive status members (along with Honorary Retired and Retired members) may return to Active status upon a showing either (1) that they have been actively practicing in another jurisdiction for 5 out of the last 7 years (this is the same as the "Admission on Motion" rule), or (2) they have obtained the required amount of CLE prior to their return to Active status. If they have been Inactive for less than 3 years, they must complete one year's CLE; for 3-5 years, two years' CLE; and for 5-7 years, three years' CLE. Such members would have to retake the bar exam if they have been Inactive for more than 7 years, instead of the 36 month limit imposed under the present bylaws.
Click here to download the proposed revisions to the bylaws.
Comments may be sent to:
Mark Gifford, Bar Counsel
Wyoming State Bar
P.O. Box 109
Cheyenne, WY 82003.
If possible, please identify the specific bylaws section(s) to which your comments relate. Comments will be accepted until December 31, 2012.