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Author Topic: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?  (Read 825 times)

joeydale

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Can someone please explain to me the whole bar review process? How does it work, when does it start and the most people get in? What are the conditions and what can prevent someone from obtaining membership?

aquafinaisbetter

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2006, 05:10:45 PM »
if youve ever been arrested, could make it kinda difficult

or should i say, if youve ever been convicted of a crime

is that it?

flydog

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2006, 07:02:54 PM »
It has more to do with current absence of good moral character with the keyword being current. Convicted drug dealers have become attorneys. If a person has been convicted of a crime that the assumption is they lack good moral character. The burden then shifts to the applicant to prove they currently have good moral character. Usually if the crime doesnt involve fraud, theft, embezzlement or murder it isnt difficult to be admitted. Another big no no is lying or concealing information from the bar. Lying on the application will automatically disqualify you even if it was for concealing shoplifting a pack of gum when you were 5. They are also concerned with alchohol or substance abuse or any pattern of behavior that indicates the applicant may defraud future clients.

This varies by state with CA being more liberal than places like TX. If you review the rules of the local bar they will state the standards required to be met to show moral character. You can also search State Supreme Court decisions related to bar admissions. They will have lots of opinions for the more extreme cases.

Most recently they AZ Supreme Court denied admission to a convicted murderer and the US Supreme Court denied to hear the appeal. The decision was interesting because their opinion stated he was denied admission because of concealing and lying about child support and domestic abuse issues. The issue about the murder conviction was not fully addressed because they determined his application contained false statements and concealed information.

pipskicks

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2006, 05:47:18 AM »
Are there online resources that break down all the questions the Bar asks?  Is there a interview too?

tacojohn

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2006, 09:08:34 AM »
Your school should help you out.  It varies greatly between states, so you need to sit down with an advisor at your school and ask.  A big thing that can keep you out across the board is a recent bankruptcy.  Lawyers are expected to be fiduciaries, and handle client money, property, and financial transactions.  A lot of bar committees reason "if a lawyer can't keep his or her own financial house in order, then how can we expect them to be trusted with money by a client?"  I know bankruptcy isn't always like that, and for most people it involves circumstances totally outside of their control, but that's how the bar committee thinks.

The best rule of thumb in applying to the bar is when in doubt, disclose it.  The vast majority of bar applications that are turned down or significantly delayed are the result of concealing information which would not have kept you out in the first place.

I think some states might have an interview, and my bet is all would have an interview or hearing in the case of a problem with your application.  I'm not sure about an interview as part of the normal process though.

flydog

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2006, 09:27:03 AM »
You can download the application from any of the State Bar websites

eatdrinkbemerry

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2006, 10:14:18 AM »
I know for IL and many other states you can see the exact questions on the websites. If you disclose everything and display a level of cantor on your application, you will not have any problems(assuming you are not ken lay,or the creator of "bum fights").

east_meets_west

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2006, 11:43:01 AM »
Drug abuse? I assume this doesn't extend to barring those who admit to smoking a few joints in their life...besides, we all know the stories about lawyers and cocaine and the 80's...
Northwestern 2010!

phooey

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2006, 02:19:53 PM »
isn't there a "fitness" component too; as in, mentally fit?  i presume that unless one has been hospitalized for severe psychosis in the very recent past they'll be okay, but who knows.

Carolinekk

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Re: What does the Bar look for? What prevents someone from getting in?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2006, 04:37:53 PM »
i think the virginia questionnaire asks you if you have a medical condition that prevents you from behaving responsibly, or would prevent you from behaving responsibly if the condition were untreated.  i imagine you're expected to disclose mental health problems when you answer this question. 

this is just speculation, but i wouldn't think the severity of the problem would matter as much as the applicant's history of keeping it under control.  like, if you have a history of missing work and school because you're depressed, you might have trouble with the bar. but if you're medicated and functional, you'll probably be ok-- even if in the past you've been hospitalized with psychosis.