Alabama’s new Superintendent has a suspended law license! Here’s why it doesn’t matter…


Alabama’s latest made-up school issue is about the incoming Superintendent’s law license being suspended…

Which is a non-story.

Alabama’s incoming state schools superintendent had his law license suspended by the Massachusetts state bar association in 2013.

But it may not be as bad as it sounds.

Michael Sentance’s law license was placed on administrative suspension by the Board of Bar Overseers when he failed to pay his dues.

“That’s all this is — a failure to register,” said Massachusetts Board spokesperson Coria Holland. “There are easier ways to non-renew, but this is fairly common. If he’s not practicing law, it’s not a problem. And according to the information I have, all he would need to do to be reinstated is pay the back dues. That simple.”

The Obamas have a similar issue

The Obamas haven’t said exactly what prompted them to change the status of their licenses. But Grogan said that it was fairly common for lawyers who didn’t intend to continue practicing law to go on inactive status. It was actually one of the reasons, he said, that the rule was changed so that lawyers wanting to switch to inactive status no longer had to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to do so. In 2011, more than 12 percent of the state’s 87,943 registered attorneys were on inactive status (see Chart 2), according to the ARDC’s annual report for that year.

In addition, prior to June 5, 2012, the Obamas would have been required to pay an annual fee of $289 (now $342), and take classes to satisfy the state’s Minimum Continuing Legal Education requirement, in order to keep their licenses active. Lawyers on retirement status, however, don’t have to pay an annual fee or take classes. And lawyers on inactive status also don’t have to take classes, but they do have to pay an annual fee of $105.

To mean, it’s a complete non-issue.

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