Monday, January 12, 2009

Things the Maryland Bar Requires

I'd heard that bar applications were a pain in the neck. But until I downloaded the FIFTY-SEVEN PAGE application, I had no idea exactly how bad things could be.

1. Certifications from my high school, college, graduate school, and law school.

2. A list of every address I've lived at for the past ten years (I counted 15 places I'd lived at least a month) and all my creditors (luckily this is just a credit card and two student lenders, but still)

3. References from five people who have known me for at least five years but are not my relatives, employers, or fellow law students. No two people on this list can be married to each other.

4. Copies of my driving records from New York and Michigan (never mind that despite having a Michigan license, not once have I operated a motor vehicle in this state).

5. A list of all my employers (both paid and significant volunteer activity) for the past five years. Each one has to be mailed a reference form, or I have to sign an affidavit that the place is out of business. I need to look into whether I need to send one to every babysitting and dog-walking client I've had since January 2004 (there are at least seven, including one that's left the country, oh my gosh) or if I can instead fill in a form for myself as a self-employed child-and-pet-care contractor. Bare minimum, (meaning that babysitting is one job, everything and Smith is a second, and everything at UM is a third) I count nine.

Bonus 6: A brief HAND-WRITTEN essay about why a Maryland rule of professional ethics of my choice is important. I am not making this up.

Not to mention questions about my mental health (which surely was better before I started applying for the bar), financial stability, substance abuse issues, court proceedings, and much more. Once all this is over, I get to do more fun things like an in-person interview, a one-day Professionalism Course, and--oh yeah--the two-day BAR EXAM before I can get admitted.

I'm consoling myself with the thought that every lawyer in the country managed to do this (well, maybe some of them talked their moms or spouses or something into doing it) and so I can too.

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