December 13, 2006
Reality TV Comes to Bar Admission
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
For reasons that will, I suppose, become clearer in the fullness of time, I have decided to apply for
bar admission in the state of Freedonia (the name is changed for a reason that is not wholly clear even to me). I am already admitted in Michigan (1979) and Indiana (2001). Fortunately I do not have to deal with the vexing problem, already addressed here, whether being a law professor constituted having practiced five out of the last seven years in a particular jurisdiction.
Having made this decision, it was easy enough to figure out what to do. Not only do we here at LPB supply links into the ABA professional responsibility websites that show the requirements, but if you type "Freedonia bar admission" into Google, you also get to the specific application Freedonia instructions and application form.
First, I have established that I am qualified by years of practice for admission by motion in Freedonia. It's going to cost me just over $1,000 in a non-refundable application fee, which I must pay by certified bank check or money order (where is PayPal when I need it?).
Second, three people who are willing to say they know me well enough to attest to my moral character and fitness to be admitted to the Bar of the State of Freedonia are going to have to go on record in writing to that effect, and those letters must be included in my application package, and not submitted separately. It would be good if one of those people is a member of the Freedonia bar.
Third, and this is a change since I was admitted by motion in Indiana a number of years ago, I have to take the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). This is administered by the ACT organization on behalf of the National Committee of Bar Examiners (NCBE), and, unlike Freedonia, it takes credit cards online. It is a 150 minute exam with 150 questions, and a scaled score possible of 150, of which 85 is a passing grade in Freedonia. The NCBE is kind enough to provide 25 sample questions, which I have duly answered without benefit of any study or preparation whatsoever, and I am pleased to say that, on a raw score basis, I exceeded 85 by a wide margin (the bulk of my wrong answers being related to the arcanities of judicial ethics, the obligations of a lawyer who is either lobbying for a client, or testifying on the client's behalf before a legislature, and the commingling of funds in an IOLTA account, all things about which I have minimal knowledge).
So that fear being overcome (and knowing that I have a good supply of sharp number two pencils), I forked over the $55, and signed up for the March 10, 2007 sitting. (Like Dick Cheney, I prefer to keep this an undisclosed location.) Nevertheless, I am now on the look-out for a MPRE review book.
Fourth, I have to get certificates of good standing from Michigan and Indiana, but they have to be within ninety days of my application, so that will have to wait, because I have to include my MPRE score with the application.
Fifth. Oh jeez. I knew I was going to have to fill out the NCBE Request for Preparation of a Character Report. I did that for Indiana, and, as I recall, I was looking up speeding tickets and summer jobs from thirty years ago. But fortunately I still have a copy of that one, so I will just have to update, and, as far as I can recall, I have not gotten a ticket in the last five years (depending on when I got the speeding ticket in Homer, Michigan late at night (M-60 on the way to Ann Arbor)). But that's another $250 on top of the $1,000 plus.
Stay tuned for our next episode.
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Will be a fun reality show to follow, much like the Biggest Loser. Thanks for putting yourself on the line.
Whatever your test-run performance on the MPRE, the reality is that you will have to study organic-chem-hard for the exam and it will become the OhJeez part of your list. Not because it is all that difficult (another prof who took several practice tests worried she'd fail because she kept hovering around the 85 mark--then I asked her did you know it is not 85% but 85 out of 150?). Just choose the second most ethical answer, when in doubt.
No, the reason you have to study like crazy is that you write a legal ethics blog and have decided to go public with this phase of your life, and I personally will write the headline for the Freedonia Enquirer, "Legal Ethics Blogger Flunks Ethics Bar Exam." As David Bowie and Billy Joel would say, "Pressure."
But thanks for providing a new parlor game much like Clue. Given the details of waiver on motion allowed, 85 is passing score, and other snippets in your post, a reader could deduce where Freedonia is located. (I always recommend Guam since the bar exam is all multiple choice.) Jeff Lipshaw, in the library, with a candle stick.
Posted by: Childress | Dec 13, 2006 9:53:25 AM