Grads ranked ninth for admission to state bar

Emerson Muzada

CSUN graduates admitted to the California State Bar to practice law ranked first among CSU colleges.

The latest by the California State Bar on membership demographics ranks CSUN ninth overall among the top 25 undergraduate colleges with graduate students as part of the California State Bar.

The State Bar of California is an association of lawyers and judges that govern the state’s justice system through law practice and rationality to best serve the citizens with a fair and impartial law system. Legislated in 1927, California’s state bar is one of the largest in the country with 202,000 members and 150,000 active lawyers practicing law. The railing that divides the public from the judge, the lawyers and the jury in court – members who occupy the bench – symbolized the bar that distinguished the spectators from the law practitioners.

Aspiring students who choose to pursue the road to law and order require educational endurance, mastery of all concepts surrounding law and a law-abiding reputation. From psychology and sociology majors, to art and biology majors, the opportunity to study law is open to students in any major.

After obtaining their bachelor’s degrees, students study at law school for three years for their Juris Doctor degree. After completing law school, applicants to practice law in California must pass the bar exam, in addition they must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, which is administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, a two-hour exam with 60 items, and finally they must go through a “Moral Character” review of the individual by the California State Bar Committee.

The review could take about six months to complete and includes a background check on the individual’s financial records, criminal records, records from the Department of Motor Vehicles, law school records and recommendations from former employers.

“What the state bar is looking for from students are analytical abilities and strong communication skills,” said business and law professor Melanie Williams, who is also the chair of the department.

Williams obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Santa Cruz and her Juris Doctor from Boston University. Williams recalls the preparation she underwent before she took the bar exam, spending all summer studying all of the material from law school, and she took two preparation courses prior to the exam as well.

California’s State Bar exam is considered one of the toughest exams in the nation. Statistics show that the last time the exam was taken in July 2007, 56.1 percent of the total students who took the exam passed. Depending on which state one wishes to practice law, each state bar exam varies and is comprised of multiple choice and essay questions taken within a three-day span.

The next exam is scheduled from July 29 -31, and the deadline to apply for the exam was April 1. The general fee to take the exam is $529, and the fee to use a laptop for the exam is $119.

Applicants can file an application for the exam, but there is a $50 late fee between now and April 30, and applications submitted after April 30 will pay a $250 late fee.