Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inside The Florida Board Of Bar Examiners: Your Worthless Political Muscle

I saw something at the last session of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners Hearings that made me laugh, just a little.

Applicants, listen, I'll say this again: "Bringing a lawyer to your hearing" is a waste of time.

Hiring a lawyer to prepare you for your hearing, and attend, is a worthwhile expense.

So I'm standing there, with the other lawyers who "do this work," and aren't just lawyers there as a warm body with a Bar card because the idiot applicant thinks it matters to the Board, and I saw something.

One of the applicants had with them a lawyer. This lawyer was a former well-known politician. Why did this applicant bring this "lawyer?"

Because either he thought it would make a difference, or the former well-known politician thought it would make a difference.

It didn't, and it wouldn't.

Sorry to break the news, but it's the same news I break when a lawyer with a Bar complaint hires a former Bar President just because they're a former Bar President. (caveat: some former Bar Presidents represent both applicants and lawyers as part of their practice.) Hiring a former politician to "represent" you before the Board is like hiring the CEO of a hospital to do your open heart surgery.

You're better off representing yourself at the hearing than trying to use political "muscle" to sway the unswayable members of the Board.

Representation at a Bar Admission hearing is all in the preparation. It's going over the typical questions that are asked, and the pitfalls that applicants face when they don't understand the purpose of the hearing. Once the hearing starts, you can have the President of the United States sitting next to you and the Board could care less. They're there to assess you, not your "muscle."

I hope this applicant got into the Bar, and I hope if he didn't, he doesn't blame his "lawyer." He probably didn't do anything to affect the outcome, either way.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Anonymous said...

What about character affidavits from prominent lawyers who an applicant worked for together with a lawyer who dedicates a significant portion of his practice to representing members with Bar Complaints and Applicants present at the hearing? Do these do anything? You mentioned a few posts ago that sometimes the panel members don't stick to the isssues and decide on their own what is true and what is a lie. Is it luck of the draw whether or not you get fairminded panel members? The more I think about this stuff the more I realize that these proceedings are extremely arbitrary. There is no uniformity. I absolutely believe that memebrs are required to have a certain level of character and morality; but there is no objective way of figuring this out. A hearing may help them figure it out, but if they have decided you are a scumbag before you even give your oath to tell th etruth you are pretty much screwed...

Anonymous said...

As a former investigator with the FL Board of Bar Examiners, I can tell you that you and Mr. Tannebaum are correct. The decisions are aribitrary. Although there tends to be some uniformity in decisions, I saw cases with similar backgrounds result in different admission decisions, for no apparent reason. If you are worried about your character and fitness investigation, I recommend hiring an investigator experienced in doing that type of investigation so that you are sure you have reported everything to FBBE and that you are prepared to handle whatever information they uncover. The character and fitness investigations are comprehensive.

Anonymous said...

I have been selected to go for an investigative hearing. I live in Tampa and want to attend the one in Orlando in January. Could someone tell me a lawyer they would recommend in Orlando and Tampa area that is well known for helping candidates with their hearing?

Brian Tannebaum said...

Anonymous, you like to eat and run? I'm glad you enjoy the blog and all the free information provided, but I'm not a lawyer referral service, I actually do this work for a living.