California law students must obtain positive moral character determinations for admission to the State Bar.
There are no automatic denials due to specific moral character flaws, but occasionally people do not provide enough evidence to meet the burden of proof. After years of dedicated study, students may wonder what happens next.
Applicants may attend an informal conference
If the State Bar has concerns about students’ applications, they offer opportunities to explain the situation. These meetings are not mandatory but may be the only opportunity for students to detail their unique circumstances before the committee makes initial determinations.
Students can request a review
If applicants disagree with adverse decisions after the conference, they can request administrative review by the Committee of Bar Examiners. Students have 30 days to file the petitions with the State Bar Office of Admissions. The committee reviews the cases and any additional materials within 60 days of receiving the requests, then have 30 days to decide and notify the students.
Applicants may appeal the determination
When the committee agrees with the negative moral character determinations, the next step is petitioning the State Bar Court for hearings. Students only have 30 days to file the requests after receiving the adverse determination notices from the Committee of Bar Examiners.
Students have the opportunity to file a new application
Sometimes after this process, students may still not pass the determination of moral character. Fortunately, applicants may file another moral character application once two years have passed from the original filing.
Applicants who do not prove good moral character should know that several options exist to appeal and possibly reverse the determinations.