Bar Application: Where do I begin?
The process of filing out your bar application is daunting. Even if you are young and have no background issues, an applicant often asks how do I start? I recommend start with the easy questions. Get these out of the way first and wait on handling the serious Character and Fitness questions until later. Some questions are harder especially if you have lived many places or worked many jobs. It is always best to be as organized as possible. Timelines help in order to refresh your recollection. Go back over dates, the jobs you had, and make sure you have up to date contact information for your previous employers. State Bar Investigators will send documentation to your past employers and they rely upon the information that you provide to be accurate.
You will also need to provide the bar with the names and contact information of Character Witnesses on your behalf. These are individuals who will vouch for your integrity, character, and fitness. State Bar Investigators will likely send forms to these individuals. These forms can contain questions about your background, criminal history, financial history, and your fitness. It is imperative that you take the time to thoroughly think who will take the time to fill out these forms timely, efficiently and honestly.
You should also make sure to obtain a copy of your law school application. You should review your law school application because it may need to be amended but this is a whole different subject all together!
Additionally, if you have either civil or criminal matters in your past, you should request copies of all court documents. You may need to contact the Clerk’s office in that particular jurisdiction to obtain the material or contact your previous lawyer if you retained one. If you have those records in your possession, now is the time to locate this paperwork. It is also helpful to obtain all relevant docket sheets. For a criminal case, I also recommend trying to obtain any relevant police reports, sentencing, or probationary documents.
In addition, it is helpful to obtain certified copies of your driving records.
Now that you have this documentation, it is time to get organized and start filling out your application. This process takes time and requires attention. If you have matters in your past or need to help with character fitness issues, hiring a professional well versed in this area of the law may be beneficial to you and your future. The bar application takes time and patience. It is imperative that you do it carefully and accurately.