|Mon, Mar 18th, @6:30pm - 08:30PM|
Women in the Legal Profession: Leadership from Law School to Practice
|Wed, Apr 3rd, @6:00pm - 08:00PM|
Being a Nimble Job Seeker (Presented by the Young Lawyers Committee of the Womens Bar Assn of DC
|Thu, Apr 18th, @6:00pm - 08:00PM|
Queen's Bench Panel Discussion: International Women's Rights
|Fri, Jun 7th, @3:00pm - 06:00PM|
PALS 2013 Summer Bar Tutorial (Session 1)
|Fri, Jun 14th, @3:00pm - 06:00PM|
PALS 2013 Summer Bar Tutorial (Session 2)
|Fri, Jun 21st, @3:00pm - 06:00PM|
PALS 2013 Summer Bar Tutorial (Session 3)
|Tue, Jul 2nd, @3:00pm - 06:00PM|
PALS 2013 Summer Bar Tutorial (Session 4)
|Preparing for Your Character and Fitness Investigation|
We realize that many of you are gearing up to take the bar exam this coming summer. In most cases, before taking the exam you will have to fill out a long drawn-out application and go through an intense character and fitness investigation. And during this process, make no mistake--you will be vetted! Here are some tips on what you can do now to make the ‘Character-and-Fitness’ application and investigation process run more smoothly.
1Get Your Credit in Order. Most states’ bars now check applicants’ credit and ask for detailed explanations of credit blemishes as part of the application process. Therefore, you should do whatever you need to now to lessen the possibility that this procedure could jeopardize your application. You might not be able to start paying down your debt, but you can take steps to correct any discrepancies or mistakes that appear on your credit report. Sometimes these things take months to clear up. Handle them now rather than waiting until you’re actually filling out your application.
2Pay Off Unpaid Parking Tickets. Your driving record will be checked along with your car’s parking ticket history. It’s best that you clear these records before even applying. If you wait until you start applying, you will just be adding more drama and headache to the process (we all know how long it can take to clear up old parking issues).
3Start Compiling Your Work History. Keep a reliable record of your job history. The Bar will want to know about every job you’ve had since you were 18 (in most states). This will include jobs that you held in college, no matter how small these jobs may have been. Start getting your old supervisors’ names and contact information together NOW.You don’t want to be running around at the last minute trying to find documentation or a professional reference’s phone number. Also throughout law school as you are working, be sure to keep important references’ contact information handy (or at least make sure that you know exactly where it is). It is a good idea to start a folder or file now for this type of information.
4Line Up Your Personal References. The people you get to vouch for the strength of your character should be reliable.If they take a long time to respond to the Bar’s inquiries it will delay your application, and may even reflect poorly on you. Keeping this in mind, start thinking now about who you might want to use as a personal reference, and make sure that you know how to contact them. Keep in mind that your personal references cannot be related to you by blood and in some instances (depending upon which state you’re applying to) must come from the same state in which you are taking the bar exam.
5Steer Clear of DWI’s! This might sound paternalistic (maybe it is a little) but just don’t drink and drive while you are in law school. Let me rephrase that --- don’t drink and drive period. But definitely don’t do it during your law school years. DUI’s have derailed many-a-plan to take the Bar Exam (trust us, we know). This type of activity can greatly impact your ability to pass the character and fitness exam, and it’s simply not worth it. We know those Thursday happy hours might be calling your name, but you can get there and back without driving. Take the train to your destination or catch a ride home with one of your classmates who didn’t imbibe.
6Prepare to Be Honest. Although this does not come into play until you’re actually filling out the application, it’s just as well that we say it here (so that you can mentally prepare yourself). There is no point in lying to the Bar. The Bar of your state makes it its business to find out pretty much everything about you. Just because something didn’t show up in your advanced Google search doesn’t mean that they won’t find out about it (you’d be surprised how many people think they are in the clear because their small-scale background checks don’t reveal certain skeletons). The states’ checks will be way more advanced than anything that you could dream up. Therefore, it’s better to give honest and complete answers upfront than to have them come to you later to request that you explain the sordid incident AND why you failed to disclose it initially. Whether it’s a criminal matter or something less serious--no matter what it is--just disclose it. You’ll be better off in the long run.
We hope that you will find these tips useful. Best of luck on your 'Character and Fitness' investigation.