Attorneys are rejecting mandatory bar dues

Washington Free Beacon:
A Louisiana lawyer joined a growing number of attorneys challenging the payment of mandatory membership dues to state bar associations.

The lawsuits argue that mandatory dues used to fund the associations' lobbying and legislative activity violate the free speech rights of individual lawyers.

Randy Boudreaux filed the lawsuit against the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) on Aug. 1. The insurance defense attorney told the Washington Free Beacon that the case drew from the Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision. The majority in the 5-4 decision said that forcing workers to pay compulsory dues or fees to public sector labor unions violated the First Amendment rights of workers.

"The LSBA…uses those compelled dues to engage in political and ideological speech, including advocacy on issues of public policy," Boudreaux's lawsuit says.

All 50 states require prospective attorneys to be admitted to the state bar before they are able to practice law. Boudreaux said lawyers are being compelled to pay for political activities and lobbying undertaken by the associations.

"The lawsuit is looking to change the status quo, which could mean the bar association makes membership voluntary or it stops taking political stances," Boudreaux said in a phone interview.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Oregon, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Texas, all of which argue the mandatory dues amount to coerced speech.
Nebraska lawyers won their challenge against state bar dues.  In Texas, the state bar has in the past actively engaged in lobbying which benefits only certain sectors of its members.


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