Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free Advice For Florida Bar Applicants

I'm sometimes happy to give free advice.

I'm happy to answer an email, take a quick call, or grab coffee in the courthouse and talk about a Bar issue with a fellow lawyer.

But some of these calls and email exchanges are getting a bit long and repetitive, and although I'd love to be able to spend more time working for free, my mortgage company and other obligations (paying clients) wouldn't be too happy.

So I thought I'd post some frequently asked questions and my answers. This way, in certain circumstances, I can refer people to this post.

[1] Do I need a lawyer for a Bar Admission Hearing?

Answer: Read here.

[2] Am I going to get into the Bar?

Answer: I don't know, and my opinion is not the end all be all. Your question really isn't whether you are going to get in, it's whether you can get in without having to hire a lawyer. How would you feel if I told you "yes," and the Bar said "no?"

Take a look at Rule 3-11 of the Rules of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners for a better understanding of what the Board of Bar Examiners considers "disqualifying" conduct. The admission process is a combination of your issues, your attitude, your current status, and doesn't rest on some black and white formula. If the Board of Bar Examiners doesn't think you have the Character or Fitness to practice, you're not getting in.

[3] What's the Investigative Hearing like?

It's like a hearing.

There are 3-4 people, a court reporter, someone from the Board office, you, one person selected by you, and a lawyer (if you have one).

They will ask you questions under oath, and make a decision within 7 days. You can present evidence and make a closing statement.

[4] I have so many issues. Should I [drop out of school] [withdraw my application] [forget ever being a lawyer]?

In most cases, probably not. This question though, cannot be answered with a 5 minute phone call or reading case law. You've gone this far to make a decision just based on receipt of a Notice of Hearing and a few minutes of anger.

[5] Can I just go to my hearing and tell them I'm sorry?


[6] If I hire you and don't get in do I get my money back?

No, but when you become a lawyer you can have that policy with your clients.

[7] Can I just tell you my situation?

Sure. Once.

[8] Can I just ask you a few questions?

Sure, but not a few every couple weeks for the next 3 months.

[9] Can I not disclose this and maybe they won't find out?

Not if I'm your lawyer.

[10] If I haven't disclosed something, when should I do it?


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 www.tannebaumweiss.com


No comments: