When applying for entrance to the California State Bar, you will likely be required to complete a Moral Character and Fitness application. It is best to understand what kind of information the bar will receive once this extensive background check is completed. You will have a better opportunity to defend your past actions in a positive light if you understand in what context they are being reported.
Every detail on the application must be completed honestly. Your employment history since the age of 18 will be requested. Answer honestly why you left your position. Any discrepancy between your reason and one given by the employer may be perceived as a lie. If you are unable to recall a name of a supervisor, give as much information as possible.
All your payment plans, credit cards, school loans and bills will be scrutinized. Late payments or accounts that went into default require frank admission of fault and the circumstances. Any detail that appears like you are hiding facts will be called into question. Take your time to explain a credit card account closed by the financial institution even if it was your debit card at college.
The background check will include interviews with personal acquaintances and professionals. Situations where dishonesty appears will be of interest to the bar. Of course, citations for misdemeanors and criminal convictions will be scrutinized.
While the Moral Character application can take up to six months to complete and review, if the status of yours seems to be taking longer than expected or you’ve received a negative finding, consulting with an attorney make help you work through any difficulties that are impeding your admittance to the state bar is always a wise choice.