Bar Applications require future examinees to provide very detailed information about their personal lives to undergo an extensive background check as part of the character and fitness process. If a the state allows you to submit an early application, consider doing so as it may provide a discount financially but it also allows (1) you to address any incidents that have occurred that can create character issues early and start the process and (2) doing your application during your first year means that it will create less stress for you than doing it in your third year when most students are also working.
The Florida Bar does give a discount to those students who submit their applications by the deadline listed in their first year – see www.floridabarexam.org, click on Checklists and Forms, then click on Register as a First Year Student. Print out this first year checklist, gather the necessary information, and then create a login and password which is valid for only 6 months (so finish it in time to meet the deadline; if it is not completed within 6 months, all information is deleted).
The actual application you fill in (where your login and password necessary) is much more detailed than that of general checklist. In your third year, you will have to convert your student registration to an exam application. You can do this at www.floridabarexam.org, then go to Checklists and Forms, then click on Convert a Student Registration into a Bar Application.
For those students who want to potentially be involved in an externship where a CLI (Certified Legal Intern) status is required but you do not plan on taking the Florida Bar exam- you can also get a discount by doing it early. To do so, go to www.floridabarexam.org, click on Checklists and Forms, then click on Register for Certified Legal Internship (CLI) Clearance only. This is the same application as the First Year Application. However, this application is not converted in your third year. This application will start the character and fitness process. However, upon filing this application, you are not automatically a CLI. You need to be selected into a CLI program by the Clinic Department, have the mandatory credit hours necessary, and then the Clinic Department requests that you are deemed a CLI by the FL Supreme Court, which will then decide whether to grant such a request.
For more information on when a CLI clearance is required, please see the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website (and applicable links) as well as the FCSL website page for Clinical Information. If you are unsure if you are going to stay in Florida, you may want to do the full application, which only costs $25 more than the CLI Clearance Only application, and then decide whether or not you are going to stay in Florida and do the conversion application in your Third Year. This would allow you to receive the discount of $300 (if done by the earliest first year discount) on the total cost of the bar exam.
If your state does not allow you to submit your application early, then see if you can still print out a current application and start gathering your information. If you are unable to do that, gather all the information for Florida’s application, create a login and print off your completed application (and just not submit it). Florida asks much more detailed questions than some other states and thus, you will have most of, if not all of, the information required for your state’s bar application.
If you have any other questions about bar applications, see an Academic Success Counselor. Please note that the Academic Success Department will be hosting a Bar Application Workshop on Thursday, October 18, from 12 – 1:30 p.m. in Room 250.
At this event, the Director of the Clinical Programs, Professor Lynn McDowell, will make a brief presentation on the Certified Legal Intern status as it relates to the clinics and internships. Associate Dean of Student Services, Dean Taggart, and Student Services Coordinator, Lauren Levine, will also be at the event to discuss the importance of consistency between your law school application and your bar application and how to make amendments to your law school application if necessary. Finally, the Advanced Florida Bar Studies Professors will discuss the Bar Application process and students will start the bar application. We look forward to seeing you at the event!