A Mitzvah for the Bar
I was talking to some 3L friends last week when someone brought up the Bar, asking how and when we register. Collectively, we knew as much about taking the Bar as Rumsfeld did about conducting a war. i.e., no one has any idea what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, or how to do it. Apparently the MPRE happened last week—I just might have taken it, had I known anything about it.
Last year, I watched my 3L friends go through the same thing. (BTW—they find out results on Friday, Nov. 17th, if you have friends/family that took the test). bar/bri, moral character, the exam itself—the whole process created mass confusion. The exam is stressful enough—the registration process shouldn’t be. So I want to do 2 things here: first, post as much relevant info as I have; and second, make a suggestion for avoiding this confusion in the future.
1. Dates and Deadlines
A word of warning: I’m getting this info from alums who took the test this past Summer. I’m not guaranteeing that everything you need is here, so don’t assume you’re all set if you’ve done everything on this list. If I have missed anything, please mention it in the Comments, and I’ll add it to this post.
- Register with the
Bar. Many of you did this 1L year. This is registering with the actual organization, and it will cost you $144. www.calbar.org. California
- Register for the MPRE. The next exam is in March, and you can begin registering in January (I think). Go through the CA Bar website, or go to www.act.org/mpre. There is a fee for this.
- Register for bar/bri. The earlier you get this done, the better. I believe you can put a deposit of $175 down now, rather than the full cost. This allows you to take the MPRE class. Unfortunately, you cannot guarantee your class site and time for the summer Bar course until you pay the entire fee. It is possible to bill your firm directly, if a firm is covering it.
- Register for the Bar Exam. Sounds obvious, but a certain alum will tell you it’s not. This has a fee of approximately $500, and can be done at the CA Bar website.
- Moral Character forms. The sooner you do these, the better, because they take a long time to fill out, and then it can take six months for them to be approved. You cannot be certified until they are officially approved. If you have any type of criminal or academic problems in your past, these forms take an especially long time. The forms are available on the CA Bar website. You need to get a fingerprint scan too—this can be done at the UPS store on Telegraph.
2. The Bar Czar
A lot of the confusion seems to stem from the fact that there is no central repository of information. While there are announcements in the BBB, no 3L actually reads the BBB, and if we do, it’s only to see if we can get some free lunch—we never make it to the back pages. Even if we do read the BBB, there’s lots of other inconsistent info out there regarding the Bar. Last year bar/bri seemed to have different answers every time you called, and it caused lots of unnecessary stress. Heck, they handed out books on only one day, yet failed to inform most students when that day was.
So here’s my suggestion—appoint a Bar Czar. This can just be the 3L BHSA rep, or it can be some kind of appointed position. All the Bar Czar needs to do is find out every relevant date, deadline, fee, etc. for everything related to the Bar. The Czar would also talk to bar/bri at the beginning of the year and get all the info (do we need gold cards? when are books handed out? how do we direct bill?), so that there’s less need for individual students to contact bar/bri directly.
Then put all this info in a handy chart, and email it to 3Ls at the beginning of the year. Then, in the weeks leading up to any important deadlines, send a couple emails to 3Ls (in addition to BBB announcements) reminding us what we need to do.
Taking the Bar really, really sucks. But with a little bit more organization and information, it can merely suck.
Labels: Bar Exams