McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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Moral Character Application Tips

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on December 18, 2009

July 2010 applicants, Winter Break is a great time to work on your Moral Character application.  Here are a few tips to help as you get started: 

1.  While completing the application is not difficult in the academic sense, it is time-consuming to read and complete all of the instructions.  Finish it now so you don’t have to worry about it next semester.  The deadline is rolling, and you CAN take the bar exam if you have not received a positive determination; but you CANNOT be sworn in or practice law.  It takes about six months to process, so just do it now and avoid any complications later.   

2.  Be sure to ask your references for permission before listing them, and once they agree, it’s also a good idea to remind them of when and how you met.  Work references must obviously come from your work experience, but personal references can be family friends, coaches, teachers, counselors, etc.  The State Bar WILL contact them and they will take time out of their busy schedules to help you, so don’t forget to send thank you notes! 

3.  If you are a CA resident, your fingerprints are good for three months prior to the date you file your application.  For more information, carefully read the fingerprint instructions on the State Bar website. 

4.  Double-check all of your dates of employment and residence.  If the Committee members find a gap of time that is not accounted for, they will return your application and significantly delay the determination process. 

5.  When in doubt, it is always safest to disclose and explain.  If you had or have a past-due debt, a mark on your academic or public record, etc., and you are not sure whether it is significant enough to mention, assume it is and explain what happened in the space provided (or on a separate sheet of paper if instructed to do so).  It will look far worse if a Committee member finds the problem and you have not disclosed it on your application.  It’s kind of like unfavorable evidence in a trial:  you want to explain it away to the jury before they hear it from anyone else. 

6.  If you have questions that are not answered by carefully reading and rereading the instructions, call the State Bar at 415-538-2000 (San Francisco office). 

Happy holidays!

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