Does the OBA have an Inactive Status?
It is correct that there does exist a statute (5 O.S. §18) that speaks to such a membership category. Following the passage of that statute, suit was filed and the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a directive to the Oklahoma Bar Association clarifying that the Oklahoma Bar Association does not have an “Inactive Membership Status.” The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied the application to assume original jurisdiction in the lawsuit. However, the Court susa sponte issued an order on November, 5, 1990.
Pursuant to the Rules Creating and Controlling the Oklahoma Bar Association the Oklahoma Bar Association is an arm of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that it has sole jurisdiction over the admission, discipline and licensure of lawyers in the State of Oklahoma. See: State ex rel. Oklahoma Bar Ass'n v. Holden, 1995 OK 25, ¶18, 895 P.2d 707; State ex rel. Oklahoma Bar Ass'n v. Farrant, 1994 OK 13, ¶8, 867 P.2d 1279; Tweedy v. Oklahoma Bar Ass'n, 1981 OK 12, ¶ 4, 624 P.2d 1049. Based upon these opinions, it is believed that the Oklahoma Supreme Court has sole and exclusive jurisdiction of all matters relating to the practice of law in Oklahoma. As an arm of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Oklahoma Bar Association is bound to follow the Orders of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and considers the Order of November 5, 1990, controlling on the subject of member classifications.
A special task force of the OBA studied our membership categories several years ago and recommended that the OBA not petition the Oklahoma Supreme Court for a change in the Rules Creating and Controlling the Oklahoma Bar Association. At the present time, it is the position of the Oklahoma Bar Association that there is not an inactive membership category.