Navigating the Bar Application Process
The bar application process – specifically the character and fitness evaluation – is a mystery to most law students. That is not surprising, given that the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners keeps all admissions decisions private. As a result, it is very difficult to figure out whether something in your background is likely to be a barrier to your admission to the bar. Even if you are ultimately admitted, there can be considerable delay while the Board investigates your application.
The most common issues that lead to additional investigation are:
- Past criminal convictions.
- Poor financial management, including past due taxes, child support, or other debts.
- Substance abuse or mental health issues that have interfered with employment or school performance.
- Plagiarism or other misconduct while in college or law school.
- Mischaracterizations or underreporting of past conduct.
- Contradictions with your law school application.
- Inconsistent information provided in the bar application process.
The best time to seek advice about your bar application is before you submit it. The second-best time is after you have filed but before bar exam results are issued (MBLE will not tell you whether your application is going to be delayed by a character and fitness issue until after you pass the bar exam).
At either of these times, for a flat fee of $750 we will offer to review your bar application and advise you regarding your submissions to MBLE.
The third-best time to seek advice about your application is after you have passed the bar exam but have been told your admission is pending further review. During this period you are likely to receive additional requests for information and may be asked to meet with the “Character & Fitness” committee, which is a subcommittee of the full Board. We may offer to represent you on a flat fee or an hourly fee during that phase of the process, depending on the circumstances particular to your situation.
The worst time to seek advice is after your application has been denied. Although you have a right to appeal the denial, by the time an application is denied there is typically little we can do to help you get a better outcome.