Reason Not to Go to Law School #24

Bar applications.

After going through the Sisyphean nightmare that is law school, and then spending money to have another company prepare you for the bar, you have to go through one of the most obnoxious administrative processes ever: applying to the bar.

This is something a lot of non-lawyers don’t even know about.  Passing the bar exam does not mean you can practice law.  You still have to get admitted to your state’s bar.  Having gone through this once already and being admitted in New York, I thought this would be easy a second time around.  Not so.

In Alabama you have to complete your application to the bar before you can even take the test, which is particularly ridiculous because Alabama has one of the earliest application deadlines (in other states, there’s just a deadline for the exam, and rolling admissions for being admitted).

The application involves a lot of stuff you’d expect, like where you went to school, prior legal jobs, that sort of thing.  But then there’s a lot of obnoxious stuff too.  In Alabama you have to provide a list of every place you’ve lived since you were 18; I had 6.  You have to list every job you’ve had since you were 16; I had 7; plus, you have to provide information for what you were doing for any period when not employed.  So, if like most students, all you had were summer jobs, you have a ton of unemployment periods.

And finally, the worst part, you need to get character references.  In NY you needed two people who have known you for at least 3 years and were not currently applying to the bar (no quid pro quo with your classmates); they prefer one of the people to be an attorney.  That’s not too terrible.

In Alabama you need 3 attorneys who have been admitted to the bar for at least 5 years.  If you don’t come from an upper class family and didn’t get a good summer job, I don’t know how anyone does this.  I e-mailed a few of the partners I did some work for at my old job, but only 2 of the 3 replied.  What the hell?

Luckily, last night I was stuffing envelopes at the home of the House candidate I’m volunteering for, and was talking with someone else about bar admissions and mentioned the obnoxious character references rule when the candidate offered to write me a letter.  I’ve known him only about a week, but Alabama doesn’t ask for a minimum time on the relationship.  He’s a pretty prominent attorney here and a county commissioner, so hopefully his recommendation will go a long way.

And finally, just for Ss&Gs, gratuitous hottie:

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8 Responses to “Reason Not to Go to Law School #24”

  1. j'lynn Says:

    Good luck!!!

  2. Defeci Says:

    Failing out is cheaper.

  3. Bar Apps Are The Devil Says:

    Alabama actually doesn’t sound too bad. I’m familiar with the application procedures of a few different states (applying now myself, as are all of my fellow out-of-staters) and all of them have due dates before the bar. They all also have incredibly early due dates with crippling “late fees.” You are dead on that the employers and residences parts are huge pains in the ass. And the 3 attorneys thing is just totally ridiculous… good luck getting it all thrown together!!

  4. bl1y Says:

    Just think about the time and energy wasted by the people who have to review the applications of people who end up failing the exam.

  5. Bill Says:

    What about this hottie? Is she a member of the bar in good standing? Can’t be. I’ve been in the profession for 5 years and there are no female attorneys that look like this.

    Most are skinny, but butt ugly. Others are fat and butt ugly. And the rest are just butt ugly. Like men with long hair.

  6. bl1y Says:

    Bill, I think this will answer your questions:

  7. Joe Says:

    I agree the app process is a torture fest, it just wastes a whole lot of time, and some money, especially if you have been admitted in another jurisdiction already. It is ridiculous if you live near a state border, where I live within 30 minutes you can be in VA, MD, WV, D.C., screw that applying to 4 state bars! There should be 1 national bar.

  8. bl1y Says:

    100% agree about there being a national bar. I think states should be allowed to have a different minimum score for the exam, just as they do the MPRE, and then have an abbreviated admission process.

    I’d say a lot more about a national bar exam, but I don’t want to give away the farm. I’m holding back a few more in-depth topics for BL1Y: The Book.

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