Law School Discussion

The interim between swearing in and getting your bar card

The interim between swearing in and getting your bar card
« on: June 01, 2015, 10:18:35 PM »
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?

loki13

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Re: The interim between swearing in and getting your bar card
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2015, 08:07:34 AM »
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.

Re: The interim between swearing in and getting your bar card
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2015, 10:07:03 AM »
Yep the card does not matter and I have actually never had a client ask to see it, but I keep it in my wallet, because it makes me feel good about myself : ) , but other than that as Loki says it is a piece of plastic and I have been asked to show it to a client, or Judge. I guess in Federal Court you can go into the attorney line and skip the security check at least in the Eastern District of California and I am sure there are other counties and or districts that have the same privilege for someone with a bar card.


Re: The interim between swearing in and getting your bar card
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2015, 05:26:47 PM »
Yeah, the bar card is just a confirmation of what has already occurred (that you're a member of the bar). Plenty of people do as Loki said and just send in an affidavit.

Re: The interim between swearing in and getting your bar card
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 11:05:35 AM »
Sometimes I don't get my bar card until a while after the year starts. California sends out bar cards with the year but fees aren't due until Feb. 1, so I don't have a bar card for that year yet. Doesn't mean I'm not a lawyer for the first month or so of every year.