Friday, April 15, 2011

Bar Application --eeek!

How have I not told you about the bar application!? Oh my goodness! So I first started thinking about it at our annual St. Patricks Day dinner, or rather the breakfast afterward when my good friend Slim (this is a name that makes sense because of her initials and she has a slim figure, also I'm sure that if I asked she would be my sidekick while I ran bootlegging schemes into or out of Canada) was talking about her recent application to the bar in Minnesota. This caused my parents to hound ("why haven't we heard anything about bar applications" "because I don't tell you everything" also I hadn't started thinking about it, oops) and me to trot over the my state bar's website to check it out.

Now states vary on their application process. New York you don't have to do a petition to the court with lots of information until after you've passed. Here in my corner of the world you compile all the information before you take the bar, pay them $815 and hope and pray you are allowed to take the bar.

Why the hoping and praying? Because even after three years of law school, a check, and passing the multi-state professional responsibility exam the state board of bar examiners can decide they don't want you practicing law in their state. This is usually because you lie on the exam. Getting arrested won't prevent you from taking the bar, but lying or not disclosing it will.

Now I've never been arrested, but disclosure is proving to be stressful for me in another arena. Jobs. They want to know about every job I've had since I was 18, and that includes gigs I wasn't paid for, like internships. Luckily I am young, and its only been 6 years since I was 18, so how many jobs could I have had in that time.


And I need to remember the start and end dates (if I fill out online the EXACT start and end dates, not just vague months), the addresses, the employers name, what my job description was, and why I left.

For some of these that is easy, like the research position I had for a professor at law school, or the peer mentor in college. For some this will be nearly impossible. Like the part time job I had for maybe two months while I studied abroad, did I ever even know my manager's name (I want to say it was Chris.... or something like Chris.... like... Greg....maybe)? Furthermore it was a video store, so it filed chapter 17 bankruptcy a few years ago and now no longer exists. So address? I'm planning on putting the address of where it was when I worked there, but that's going to require some google map trickery.

Its that sort of vagueness that is scary for me. I want to answer the questions accurately, but what if there is no way of knowing the answer? Hmmmm? What then?
See this lack of response? Its because there is no one to ask my questions of. I can ask other applicants. But they know about as much as I do (but were very helpful about my MPRE report, just as I was helpful to some about law school certificates). I've already asked the dean of students at my law school some questions, but they didn't have definitive answers, just general pointers. The Q&A section of the board of bar examiners website is slightly less than helpful. The next step is emailing the state bar association and asking them. While I'm sure they'd be very helpful, I feel like that might be an excessive step and that I'm overreacting to the importance of the name of a video store manager 5 years ago in DC.
Of course, not being allowed to take the bar is even more drastic.

Moral of the story is that filing out my bar application is proving to be very stressful.
It would be less stressful if everywhere I worked since I was an educational institution, or there was someone I could ask all my questions of.

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