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Messages - loki13

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41
I had someone ask me this question recently and didn't have a good answer for them. We all know that passing the bar alone doesn't make you a lawyer, but during a group swear in recently a friend of mine told me that the Judge told them "You are now officially lawyers, you can now represent clients" (but his bar card won't show up for week or two)  I thought you had to have that to legally take clients.

Does that Judge just not know what he is talking about??? I sure would hate to think the old SOB was committing malpractice and giving bad advice to greenhorns that way. Strikes me as a potential domino effect of character and fitness violations!  :o

Thoughts?

When you pass the bar exam, and pass the state bar's moral character and fitness provisions, and pass any other provisions that may be applicable, then you are allowed to be part of the state bar- you are sworn in. Whether you chose to do so by a public ceremony or executing a notarized affidavit is up to you.

At that point, you are an attorney.

There are occasions when a Bar Number is helpful. Like signing certain pleadings.

But the bar card is just a piece of plastic.

42
MaintainFL,

No offense, but.... (I love that opening!)....

Your argument is completely, totally, 100% muddled. If you're against protectionism, and you are for consumer choice, then you should be fine with doing away with the Bar Exam completely and, for that matter, getting rid of UPL. After all, in libertopia, bad advocates will eventually be weeded out, maybe by Yelp and/or tort suits, so we don't need any barriers to entry. Let real competition flow- why restrict it to fancy book-learnin' types who went to law school and passed a test (and/or moral character and fitness)?

On the other hand, you appear to be advocating for barriers to entry- just, you know, easier ones. Ones that aren't too taxing on would-be attorneys, and (bonus!) would allow attorneys to practice in multiple states regardless of their knowledge of the local state's laws.

Either have the courage of your convictions, or don't. What do you want- real competition, or an actual barrier to entry? And, by the way, I don't believe the current barriers to entry amount to much, because, as we are all aware, even with the requirements, there were far too many licensed practitioners and far too few jobs.

43
i VIII-

To be more specific, the states that have formerly had a degree privilege had it for the State University; it used to be somewhat more prevalent, but died out in the 1950s-60s, and now only Wisconsin has (had? there was a federal case about it) the degree privilege.

I think the degree privilege is a terrible idea for a number of reasons, and even more terrible for states where very many people would want to practice. As you might note, states like California and Florida tend to have the most restrictive policies for bar membership (and reciprocity!) for a reason. They don't need to attract more attorneys- they attorneys already want to practice there. North Dakota, on the other hand....

Each state sets its own standards. Most states, rightfully, have a bar exam. The overall trend has been to allow more reciprocity, easier licensing, etc. IMO, that isn't a great trend. Just because a school is ABA-accredited does it make it good.

44
"but don't screw over those who are already at the finish line."

If you can't pass the Bar, you don't deserve to practice.

Given the quality of practice I see on a regular basis, the Bar doesn't act as much of a screen, so I assume that the only people that have failed the Bar are the lazy and the incompetent.

45
Well, first I would argue that there is nothing wrong with being an a-hole. But, in all seriousness, the bar exam does function as a barrier to entry, and it would be remiss to have this conversation without noting the elephant in the room.

Moving on, there are a number of interrelated questions-
1. Should there be a licensing requirement?
-The answer to this depends, I think, on how one feels about ULP (unauthorized practice of law). Personally, I think that the rules should be somewhat lessened (many paralegals and others could help with small-scale things in order to lower costs, and software to help pro se individuals shouldn't be so ... frowned upon); that said, I do believe in guarding against ULP and in appropriate licensing. So, if you think that there should be a licensing requirement...

2. Should a "bar exam" be a part of the licensing requirement-
-Again, in America today we tend to frown on high-stakes exams, and, to be frank, meritocracy in general. It's a gold-star society. But requiring some type of licensing exam which (to be honest) is a mix of natural ability and application of learned skills is useful. No, it's not a perfect fit, especially the MBE parts (the criminal law parts, by their nature, have to not work in any given state). But it's good enough. I have yet to meet someone who I knew was perfect attorney material who could not pass a bar.

3. So, how to calibrate-
-I would argue that California calibrates a little harder than other states for a number of reasons (protectionism, non-ABA accreditation, and number of takers to begin with); I would also argue that the overall passage rate in California is more desirable than other states. While I joke about making it harder, kind of, I don't think making the passage rate approximately 50% nationwide is unreasonable, *given the current makeup of who is taking the tests, etc.* In many other countries, it is more difficult to become an attorney- I recently looked at the requirements for Japan (litigation), and, let's face it- we have it easy.

46
I think most of the posters on this thread are missing the point-

the Bar is pure protectionism. Now that we have licenses, we should want to keep the pass rates as low as possible. Barrier to entry and all that.

Instead of asking how to make the CalBar easier, you should be asking how to make it much, much harder. After all, three days is nothing. Why not five?

47
Pre-Law in high school / Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: June 01, 2015, 02:38:09 PM »
"Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect?"

No. The law-niverse is huge, and not easily reducible. That said, the three most common misconceptions about the law are as follows (in terms of people saying they will practice in a particular area):
1. I will practice in Constitutional Law.
2. I will practice in International Law.
3. I will practice in Mergers and Acquisitions.

These three areas are, well, kind of a joke- because most people don't understand that you will likely not practice in these "areas." Do some people? Sure! There are a few people that will go to HYS (Harvard, Yale, Stanford), clerk for a federal judge, clerk again (most likely), and then work for in an appellate boutique doing ConLaw cases..... but.... don't count on it.

As others have noted, most practicing attorneys either do some type of civil/criminal litigation or transactional work (real estate, licenses and business contracts, estates and trusts, etc.). For some people, this is fun and rewarding. For others, this is billable hour hell.

As for what to do in undergrad? Doesn't matter. Really. Do well. Have fun. Get good grades. Travel if you can. Live life- grad school (and/or law school, if that's what you want) will wait.

48
I looked into this a while ago when a friend asked about it.

Every place is different. But there are overseas places that cannot operate their own licensing boards (Bars) and will let you "practice" based on your membership in a state bar. Don't forget there's also a difference between practice (being an attorney) vs. a clerkship (which is what most Americans are going overseas for, and doesn't require a license).

That said, I briefly looked at the Guam website, and it appears that Guam now has a bar exam with a local question of law.

49
General Off-Topic Board / Re: No Pre-Law Advisor-help?
« on: May 20, 2015, 09:00:58 AM »
CLilly,

First, many (if not all) pre-law advisors don't know what they're talking about. Remember that. Because I paid attention to my pre-law advisor (who, in turn, asked for advice from another pre-law advisor) I chose the completely wrong mix of schools to apply to. It ended up working out great for me, but still....

So, briefly put- educate yourself. Ask questions. Go to different sites. There are, for all practical purposes, only two things that matter for your admissions chances. Your uGPA (undergraduate GPA) and your LSAT score. You know your uGPA; if you don't already have your LSAT score, start taking practice exams to get an idea of where you will score (approximate)- this will help you understand what types of schools you will be looking at (reach, solid, safety).

Re: mental health. This should be fine. Remember to separate two things- the illness, and the actions. For example:
1. I have bipolar disorder, and I am receiving treatment for it.
2. I have bipolar disorder, and because of that, I killed a guy in Reno just to watch him die.
3. I have bipolar disorder, and because of that, I have a massive and untreated cocaine addiction.

Illness alone (1) is never disqualifying. But actions can be (2). What can cause you problems is a lack of candor (this is the fancy lawyer-speak for telling the truth). If, for whatever reason, your law school application asks you a question that requires disclosure of something, make sure you disclose.

50
General Board / Re: Disciplinary Action in Law School--C&F?
« on: May 19, 2015, 06:00:42 PM »
Opal-

First, you have six years to complete your JD. That means that you can take up to three years off. So (no offense, but) that's a dodge. Also? Starting a year (the fall) and not being able to complete is not the same as taking an entire year off.

I would be somewhat concerned given your statement. From what I see, you have one physician giving you 40mg of Latuda, then another, no earlier than February of this year, increasing it to 80mg- not exactly a hallmark of stability and time given your history. As a total aside, I help with, well, some mental health things in my jurisdiction, and I am a little shocked that they are giving you Latuda (alone) for the mania. They usually prescribe it in conjunction with another medication (or medications) and many people, over a period of time, find that it triggers mania or hypomania. But everyone is different, and if it's working for you, that's what matters.

Regarding your statement, it is way too defensive. The first paragraph (I can feel the hostility!) and the beginning of the fourth (the part with the mirror). Dude- just lay out the facts - and you realize you don't really lay them out, right? Accept responsibility, state your remedial action (taking care of your illness), and move forward.


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