Moral Character and Fitness

The Bar Exam is the Easy Part

If you flunk the Bar Exam, you can take it again with a clean slate. If your Moral Character Application is turned down, you must start again -- PLUS explain whatever kept you out the last time.

The Moral Character Application is routine for most students. However, if you have some sort of issue -- criminal conviction, honor code, lawsuits -- the process takes longer. You have to disclose everything from that divorce trial to the small claims dispute over the fender bender. A DMV hearing or a contested unemployment insurance claim also counts. These are rarely trouble in the moral character process, but they become a problem when you don't report them, or if you describe them inaccurately.

When to Hire Counsel

You should strongly consider an attorney if you have a criminal conviction, suffered student discipline, have been involved in litigation, or have had to deal with a formal administrative proceeding. Your story can be told well or badly, but it has to be told. Lindsay Kohut Slatter has experience in helping you tell that story in your own voice.

Depending on the issue, you may be called in for a personal interview with the State Bar Moral Character Subcommittee. We are experienced with preparing students for that interview. That 45 minute meeting is more important than the Bar Exam. We will use our vast experience to help you demonstrate your current moral character to the committee making the decision.

"You were harder on me than they were!"
-Client comment after meeting with the Moral Character Subcommittee (and prior to subsequent admission).

Don't Use Attorney Titles

Until you are actually admitted to practice, you cannot use such terms as “Esq.” or “General Counsel.” You cannot use the term “Associate” to describe your present job. Nor can you be listed as an attorney with a “Bar application pending.” All of the foregoing constitute the unlawful holding out of yourself as licensed to practice law.

Similarly, even if you disclose your status, you cannot advise clients on legal issues. Such constitutes the Unlawful Practice of Law (UPL). Even if you hold an out of state license.