Applying to The Florida Bar - Dealing with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners

By: Richard A. Greenberg

01.01.00

After completing law school, it is then time for graduates to take the Bar exam and submit their application to The Florida Bar.  Before being admitted to the Bar, an extensive background check is done on each applicant.  Sometimes the process encounters a hiccup and the applicant finds themselves in need of help.

What is an applicant required to disclose on the application for admission to The Florida Bar?

The Florida Bar application seeks an extensive amount of information about one’s past. An applicant will need to disclose such items as past residences, schools attended, jobs held, credit issues, and criminal matters. If a response is required to an item on the application, make sure the response is detailed and complete. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners conducts a very thorough background check on every applicant.

Why does the Florida Board of Bar Examiners require so much information?

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners has two primary purposes: to protect the public and to safeguard the judicial system. For this reason, the Board strives to ensure that only individuals who meet the “character and fitness” requirements set forth in the Rules Relating to Admissions to the Bar and Florida Supreme Court jurisprudence are admitted to The Florida Bar.

What happens after the application for admission to The Florida Bar is submitted to the Florida Board of Bar Examiners?

Once the application for admission to The Florida Bar is filed, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners will begin to investigate every aspect of the applicant’s life covered by the application. A credit report will be run, a criminal background check will be performed, and references listed in the application will be contacted. It is not unusual for the investigation to last 9-12 months before a decision is made on the application. One outcome that may result from the investigation is that the applicant is requested to appear for an investigative hearing before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.

If a notice to appear for an investigative hearing before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners is received, should counsel be retained?

Yes. The applicant has gone through a great deal of time, expense, and hard work towards their goal of becoming an attorney and member of The Florida Bar. Hearings before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners are unlike any other judicial or administrative proceeding. Counsel is recommended to help navigate through the process.