Wednesday, January 25, 2006

DC Bar Waiver Status

A number of people have asked me what's involved in the DC Bar wavier application. Well, this one's for you guys. I crossed out what I've actually accomplished.

Application Questionnaire (i.e. every place you've ever lived, thought about living, or drove through; every person you've ever known, met, or stared at on the metro; and every job you've ever had, applied for, or dreamed about having when you were a young lad.)

Certification from Law School, signed by Registrar or Dean. (I've sent away for it, at least)

MBE release form. (you need to have scored 133, though if you're applying from a state that's like CA, you're flying blind on this one.)

Copy of MPRE scores.

Certificate of good standing from the highest court in your state. (also waiting for this)

Required fee sent with certificate of good standing request, in my case, a check for $1 made out to the CA Supreme Court. (yes, one dollar)

Authorization and Release Forms. Three copies. Each one notarized no more than 5 days before submitting application.

Form request for NCBE Character Report.

Certified check for $400 made out to Clerk, DC Court of Appeals.

Certified check for $250 made out to NCBE.

Certified check for $25 for MBE score release.

One staple or heavy binder clip. (yes, it says this)


Wow, so I've done almost nothing. That's awesome. To be fair, I can't do most of it until I get my paperwork from my law school and the CA Supreme Court, since I can't have any of the forms notarized or signed/dated too long before I send the entire application in. I'll also wait until the whole app is ready until I go get the certified checks, but at least I've got that money in my bank. If you have any
questions, feel free to ask.

Oh, and I should mention this because of it's total unbelievability factor. I called CalBar yesterday with a question and not only was the woman I spoke to friendly but she actually had the answer to my question! Maybe once you actually become an attorney they feel like they have to start listening to you. Or at least, not be a total, utter dick so we don't get mad and sue them for emotional distress like we wanted to all summer. (We had to settle for voodoo dolls back then.)


At 5:35 PM, January 27, 2006, Anonymous kirk diogu said...

are you sure you need this to work in dc? i have a friend who just passed the ny bar who is now a contract attorney at skadden aarps in d.c. he hasn't waived into d.c.

what kind of permanent job do you want / are you looking for? do you want a legal job or a politics job? have you considered going back to california since you are barred there? you could probably get a research job at a think tank. or, a job on the hill - lots of 20 somethings get those jobs w/o any graduate degrees. you could be a l.a. or something.

At 5:49 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

Well intentioned advice, indeed.

1) I don't NEED a DC bar license to work in DC. I only need it to work as a contract attorney on cases being heard in the DC courts - which happens to be 99% of the work out there since the DC Circuit Court made the ruling this past summer. Your friend a) got lucky and found the 1% or b) Skadden is working under the radar, as a few of the law firms are still doing. Without a DC license I can make at most $20/hr (around 40K/year), but with it I can make $40/hr (around 80K/year) - clearly a huge difference. I'd make my $675 fee back in three days.

2) I'm looking for both legal and political jobs.

3) I'm not interested in going back to California unless I have to. I have no friends there, no connections, and compared to DC, VERY few political/non-profit jobs. Plus, it's expensive as hell to live there and I'd need to buy a car.

4) I don't know whether to laugh or cry at "just go get a job on the hill." I've been applying for hill jobs since I graduated - you have no idea HOW HARD it is to get one of those if you're not willing to a) start as an unpaid intern or at the front desk for $20K, or b) suck lots and lots of dick. Obviously, I find both problematic.

Any other advice is appreciated.

At 6:26 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Kelly said...

I JUST turned in my DC Bar app this afternoon! So if you need any tips or thoughts or want to commiserate or anything, feel free to email me.

As for Hill jobs, yeah they're not so easy to come by. I came here thinking a political job would be great, but I can't really afford it and I've also discovered that I just don't think I'm driven enough to beat out the 4700 people also applying for them. I've made my peace with my reality in that regard.

At 7:40 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger elliott said...

There is a that myth out there that you don't need to take the D.C. bar - just waive in. The D.C. rep told us recently that it can take nine months! I will happily take the D.C. bar and be done with it (knock on wood).

oh, and I like your photos - reminds me I need to get out of the city more.

At 10:14 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

e.teel - yeah, i'd be sitting pretty if i'd just taken the dc bar, but, it's only one of many myths told to potential lawyers.

and you've got some great photos too! i love reminders that this city can be beautiful.

At 3:13 AM, January 28, 2006, Blogger Roonie said...

Heather, you need to stop making me want to pick DC over LA, damnit! There are redeeming things about LA, too! I think DC is just as expensive as LA, but then again, you're right about having to buy that car thingie. No way can you live in LA without a vehiculo.

But I still love LA. And I love DC. And I could end up in either one. And I just might. And I am totally deviating from my original comment.

I had no idea it took so much to waive into the DC bar - and I'll betcha a lot of people don't. I thought it was easy, "Hey, I passed a bar, lemme sign this paper, yippee! I'm in! Dual-barred." Nyet. But that's not something I knew about, oh, a year ago.

I really tend to ramble. My point is, keep at it. DC is a tough market (I think one of the toughest ones, right?) but you are QUAL-I-FIED. You just keep pushing forward. I feel like I say that a lot.

Why am I not in bed? Shut up, me.

At 10:21 AM, May 01, 2008, Blogger Jaime said...

Hey there! I know this was an old thread, but I came across it when I was looking for info about waiving into the DC bar. I just passed the Georgia bar last year, and have been working in D.C. in a one-year fellowship position. I'm going to be clerking in D.C. next year for a year, but after that I have no idea what I'll be doing... so I'm trying to decide whether it's worth it or not to waive in. I hear such mixed opinions from people, especially since I'm uncertain as to whether I'll be practicing in D.C. or not, but it mostly seems like money is the main downside. Did you finish up everything and get admitted in D.C.? I live in Columbia Heights as well... what do you think of the new Target? ;)

At 9:01 AM, May 14, 2008, Anonymous Lucy said...

"Maybe once you actually become an attorney they feel like they have to start listening to you. Or at least, not be a total, utter dick so we don't get mad and sue them for emotional distress like we wanted to all summer. (We had to settle for voodoo dolls back then.)"

I see some things haven't changed. When I took the Cal. bar exam - wow - 30 years ago, you could call in the morning the results were released to find out if you passed. When I called, they told me I hadn't. I was incredulous, since I'd followed the review course instructions like a trained seal, and done well on all the practice tests. So I went back to bed until the mail came, with a letter saying I'd passed. When I called back to complain, the response was "[w]hat do you want? You passed, didn't you?"

Anyway, thanks for explaining why all the temp jobs are now looking for D.C. barred. After reading your post, not sure it's worth it for someone like me who's just looking to come down from Baltimore once in a while a make a few bucks.

Good luck on your job search. Twenty years after leaving L.A., I still miss it in some ways. But then, I'm in Baltimore, not D.C.

At 9:09 AM, May 14, 2008, Anonymous Lucy said...

Just looked at DC Bar site. Since I've been in practice > 5 years, it'd be a lot easier for me (but not that much less expensive!).


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