Supreme Court

Court OKs Rules to Permit Online Bar-Admission Applications 

At the Texas Board of Law Examiners' request, the Court approved changes to rules governing admission to practice law in Texas that eliminate the so-called mailbox rule and that lay the foundation for the Board's transition to complete online transactions with law students and bar applicants in the near future.

The rules revisions are among changes by the Board of Law Examiners that as of July 1 require out-of-state lawyers seeking to represent clients in Texas on a onetime basis to apply to do so online and to pay the $250 fee electronically. The online form for such pro hac vice admission is one page that can be signed electronically, replacing a three-page application that had to be mailed to the Board and signed by hand.

"Online payments and applications will increase efficiency for our staff, eliminate rejection of incomplete applications and incorrect fee amounts and improve convenience for applicants," said Susan Henricks, the Board of Law Examiners' executive director.

In time, Henricks said, electronic application and fees payment for bar-exam applicants and law students filing their Declaration of Intent to Study Law will become mandatory.

By filing for pro hac vice representation out-of-state lawyers now get electronic confirmation that the $250 fee has been paid, a quicker step in getting permission to appear in a Texas court for their clients.

Fees for pro hac vice representation go to access-to-justice programs in Texas.

Applicants for the bar examination and law students filing their intent-to-study-law declarations currently may print form applications available from the Board of Law Examiners website, but those must be submitted by mail and with checks.

The Board collected more than $3 million in fees last year.