Attorneys must hold very high moral and ethical standards when practicing law. That is why the California State Bar requests that law students submit a moral character application before they can begin practicing.
These applications help gauge how an attorney will approach moral and ethical issues. This guide explains a few key factors in submitting a successful application.
When to file your application
It is common to file the moral character application after registering with the Bar as a law student. This can occur during the last year of law school, or at least eight months prior to when you hope to practice law in an official capacity.
How long does it take to process applications
While the timeline can vary from applicant to applicant, it generally takes about 180 days to process applications. If the board has questions or needs clarification, processing may take a little longer.
How long do moral character determinations last
After receiving a positive determination, it will remain valid for 36 months. If you have not received certification to practice during that time period, you must provide an extension application. Should you fail to do so, you must submit the initial moral character application again.
How to ensure the best results
There are many segments of the application, and it is important to include all pertinent information. If the application is not complete, processing will not continue until the applicant provides more information.
For example, you must provide a Request for Live Scan Service form with your application. Additionally, you must have completed this form sometime within the last 90 days. If you do not have the Live Scan form, you can submit two fingerprint cards completed sometime during the last year.
Keep in mind that omitting certain information can also constitute a lack of more character. You can track the status of your application Applicant Portal online.