Ethics Counsel on www.OKbar.org

OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 17

Adopted February 26, 1932

Many inquiries have been received by the State Bar from persons who were non-residents of the State of Oklahoma on the effective date of the State Bar Act, to-wit, June 22nd, 1929, and who have continued since to be non-residents, whose names on that date appeared upon the roll of the Supreme Court as members of the Bar of the State of Oklahoma, as to their status under the Act, and as to their obligations, duties and responsibilities thereunder.

In response to the inquiries:

Section 3 of The State Bar Act provides:

"The members of the State Bar shall be all persons now entitled to practice law in this State."

It is the opinion of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Oklahoma that the appearance of a name of a person on the roll of the Supreme Court on June 22nd, 1929, was prima facie evidence that that person was entitled to practice law in this State on that date, and continues prima facie evidence of the right of such person to practice law in this State until he has been suspended therefrom or until his enrollment has been revoked or set aside.

That being so, each person whose name appeared upon the Supreme Court roll on June 22nd, 1929 became on that date a member of The State Bar and as such became and is now obligated to pay the fees required by the Act, in lieu of which he "must be suspended from membership in the State Bar."

The Board is of the opinion, however, that it has the discretion to permit such persons enrolled upon the Supreme Court roll-on June 22nd, 1929, who were not residents of the State of Oklahoma on that date and who have since continued to be such non-residents, and who have not complied with the provisions of the State Bar Act to petition the Supreme Court, through the Board of Governors, to strike their names from the roll of the Supreme Court, such persons thereafter not to be subject to the provisions of the State Bar Act.