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Can debt prevent admission to the State Bar?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2017 | Receiving And Maintaining Professional Licenses |

When applying for entrance into the State Bar of California, you will undergo a thorough background check that will include scrutiny of your financial records. Many applicants often worry about what having debt will do to their chances of gaining acceptance. After all, just about everybody leaves school with student loans, credit card balances and perhaps other loans. Do your books need to be completely clear?

Some debt is just fine

According to the American Bar Association, having some debt is to be expected and generally will not be counted against you. If you have multiple mortgages on the same property, carry large unsecured loans with multiple lenders and owe far more than is likely to be earned, that will garner closer scrutiny by the board of examiners. In the interest of protecting the public, they don’t want to have a new attorney placed in a position that might encourage them to take advantage of clients or enter into poor agreements because of looming financial struggles.

Financial responsibility is key

You will want to check your credit score a good six months before sending in your application and work on fixing errors and items that are lowering your score. You need to be paying all your bills on time and maintaining a good relationship with your lenders. Paying your debts on schedule is viewed as a positive indication of future decision making and an honest desire to follow the rules.

When applying to become a member of the Bar, remember that your moral code is being closely examined. Handling your money and that of others in a trustworthy manner is but one indicator that you would make a positive contribution to the State Bar of California.

If you are in doubt about your financial fitness, consult an attorney to discuss what your options are. The Law Office of Zachary D. Wechsler is here to answer your questions and plan an effective strategy. Give us a call at 800-621-0945 to start the conversation 


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