Are You Ready For The Bar?
February 11, 2015
May 16 is just a few months away, and that means the bar examination is not far behind. I know, I can hear you hissing at me. I’m sorry, but I think we will all be better for sharing as much information about our upcoming graduation and the bar examination as possible.
Graduation applications should be turned in, to the 6th floor, as soon as possible. Also, if you want pro bono recognition, fill out the pro bono form and turn that in to Randy Ward on the 7th floor. Check your transcript and make sure all of the requirements that you have fulfilled are accounted for. If they are not, check with the registrar. If you are in a fellowship program chances are you need to turn in an application for a certificate, do that now.
I am sure you have already decided where you are going to take the bar, but if you haven’t now is the time to make sure you have looked at the state’s bar examination requirements and register. If you are taking the California bar, check http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Requirements.aspx for the requirements. Registering with the state bar costs about $100.
Most people have already taken the MPRE, but if you haven’t, you must, and you have to get an 86. Scores for other jurisdictions vary, so check with them. The next California test is on March 28, and there is another one in August and November. You can take the MPRE post bar, but if you, you may have your license held up and will not be sworn in on the November date. Registration for the MPRE is $80.
To prep for the MPRE check out TJSL’s Academic Success Program & Writing Center on the TWEN page. There you will find a posted lecture and handout. Additionally, all bar prep programs (Barbri, Kaplan, etc.) have MPRE books they will generally let you have for the cost of your email address. But you should prepare for the test, no one wants to have to do it again or pay another $80. You can find dates and deadlines at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mpre/test-dates-deadlines-and-fees/.
The moral character application . . . cue scary music. It’s a lot of information. This is why they tell you to do it in the summer between 2L and 3L, but if you haven’t done it, now’s the time. Determinations can take anywhere from 6-10 months. Your license is held until all the discrepancies are cleared. You will need addresses of ALL the places you have lived and worked since you turned 18, references including at least one attorney, and other information such as your education. The moral character application costs $500.
In addition to the moral character application, you must complete a Live Scan – finger printing. The Live Scan must happen within 6 weeks of filing your moral character application or you will have to do them again. Be sure to fill out and bring the form included in the moral character application with you when you are finger printed. There are several places to complete a Live Scan. San Diego Community College Police, located at 1536 Frazee Rd., is close and takes walk-ins Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and the cost is $20.
Bar prep courses, whatever you decide to do you have to go all in! Do not rely on anything but the hard work and dedication you will put into bar prep. Just because you are in the top 30% of the class does not mean you will pass the bar. There are Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, and a variety of other courses available, and representatives are always on the 2nd floor just itching to talk to you about their course. Search the Internet, check out Facebook and Twitter, but whatever you decide has to be the right fit for you. Each course generally allows you to go on their site and do some type of simulation, and the reps always have sample outlines for free. Keep in mind these books are not the actual bar prep books. Courses range in price, but some have payment plans, and TJSL has a new bar scholarship you can apply for this semester. You can pick up an application on the 6th floor or download the application at https://www.tjsl.edu/sites/default/files/files/TJSL_bar_study_scholarship….
In March bar applications will become available online. You can find information at http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/DatesDeadlines.aspx. But there will be an application fee of $614, and a laptop fee of $139. Until then happy studying, here is a link to past Cal Bar questions http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Examinations/DatesDeadlines.aspx.