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Attorney challenges requirement to join State Bar

brown and gold gavel
Bill Oxford

An attorney says she should not have to join the State Bar of Michigan in order to practice law. And she has filed a lawsuit to strike down the requirement.

Lucille Taylor is a lawyer with a long history in state Republican politics.

“I believe in Michigan, we are the only type of trade or profession where you cannot practice your trade or profession without paying membership dues, and that should change,” Taylor said.

Taylor says she does not oppose the portion of state bar dues that goes toward policing the profession. But she says she should not have to pay for advocacy and lobbying for causes she does not necessarily agree with. She says 20 other states and Washington, D.C. do not require attorneys to join a bar association.

She says recent state and federal court decisions uphold her position that she does not have to professional dues to an association as a condition of employment.

“I believe that’s the case now," she said. "I believe what they are doing violates my First Amendment rights of association and speech.”

The State Bar of Michigan says its rules protect the First Amendment rights of attorneys in the state.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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