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Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers

Attorneys eligible to practice law in Massachusetts may choose one of six statuses: Active, Inactive, Retired, Clerk, Judicial, or Pro Bono. Attorneys choosing "Active" status are allowed to practice law within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They will be issued bar cards. Attorneys choosing "Inactive", "Retired", "Clerk" , "Judicial" or "Foreign Legal Consultant" status are not allowed to practice law within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They will not be issued bar cards.

Attorneys choosing “Probono Retired" or “Probono Inactive” status are allowed to provide pro bono publico legal services under the auspices of approved legal service organizations, but are not allowed to perform legal services for any other person or entity. They will be issued bar cards. For additional information on pro bono status, please go to the relative link.

If you are changing to a status other than "active," and you are considering applying for reciprocal admission in another jurisdiction, the Board recommends that you contact the other jurisdiction before requesting the status change. The jurisdiction to which you are applying may require that you be registered under active status for a set period in another jurisdiction before approving your request.

Inactive Status.
- Any attorney may advise the Board in writing that he or she desires to assume inactive status and to discontinue the practice of law in this Commonwealth. Upon the filing of such notice, the attorney shall no longer be eligible to practice law in this Commonwealth but shall continue to file annual registration statements for as long as he or she remains on inactive status. The attorney, however, shall pay the fee imposed pursuant to Rule 4:03 for inactive attorneys.

- Upon the filing of a notice that he or she wishes to assume inactive status, an attorney shall be removed from the rolls of those classified as active until and unless he or she requests reinstatement to the active rolls and pays for the year of reinstatement the fee imposed pursuant to Rule 4:03 for active attorneys.

Retirement.
- Any attorney may advise the Board in writing that he or she desires to retire from the bar and to discontinue the practice of law in this Commonwealth. Upon the filing of such notice, the attorney shall no longer be eligible to practice law in this Commonwealth but shall continue to file registration statements for three years thereafter in order that he or she can be located in the event complaints are made about his or her conduct while he or she was engaged in practice in this Commonwealth. The attorney, however, will be relieved from the payment of the fees imposed pursuant to Rule 4:03.

- Upon the filing of a notice that he or she wishes to retire from the bar, an attorney shall be removed from the rolls of those classified as active until and unless he or she requests reinstatement to the active rolls and pays the fee imposed pursuant to Rule 4:03 for active attorneys for each of the years during which he or she was retired from the bar.

Judicial Status.
- Any attorney who sits as a judge of any state or Federal court may advise the Board in writing that he or she is a sitting judge and desires to discontinue the practice of law in this Commonwealth. Upon the filing of such a notice, the attorney will be placed on judicial status and will be relieved from the payment of the fees imposed pursuant to Rule 4:03.

- Upon the filing of a notice that he or she has left the bench and wishes to be reinstated to the active roll and upon payment for the year of reinstatement of the fee imposed pursuant to Rule 4:03 for active attorneys, an attorney on judicial status shall be so reinstated.

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