Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

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Anonymous User
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Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:51 pm

I may try to start practicing in NY but plan to head back to California within 3-5 years after that (possibly not, but that'd be the plan).

I just checked out the test dates and they conflict.

I assume that since I'm working in NY first, that I'd have to take the NY bar first. However, I understand that if I were to pass the CA bar first, I could take the next test date for NY and only have to do one day of testing. I don't know if people do this, though, because then I'd not be licensed in NY for longer, and also I'd have to somehow find time to study for a bar test day while practicing as a first year associate.

On the other hand, I could just take the NY bar and then just schedule a move back to CA around a test date, take time off to study, and then take the entire exam (unless I have practiced for 5 years, I have read, then I take just two of the days).

I really wish I could just take these in the same period of time to avoid having to either pile on studying for the bar while working as an associate (ouch) or having to take off a month or two and force a move during one or two times during a year.

Thanks!

The Duck
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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby The Duck » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:55 pm

It's up to your firm. Many give you a year to get licensed and if they practice primarily in federal court, it's less important to be barred where your office is. Also, people study for the bar while working all the time (when moving offices).

TooOld4This
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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:03 pm

Take the NY bar. There is no point in doing all of this for a state you might practice in. And the MBE is not that hard. Once you have passed it once, it's not that bad to get back up to speed on it.

If you really want to be admitted to the CA bar as well, then just study at a reasonable pace and take it some time over the next couple of years. If you fail it, you can take it again. No need to take off time (other than to fly out there) for a "nice to have" bar admission.

Anonymous User
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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:17 pm

It's not a "nice to have" admission, really.

I'm slated to start at an office in California, but may attempt to start in New York with the idea of it being somewhat temporary (make it to mid-level or senior associate, then look to move back).

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:22 pm

Regardless of whether it's feasible as a practical matter, I think that taking the California bar instead of the NY bar, while expecting to start in a NY office, is likely to send your firm a pretty negative signal about your commitment. If they're aware of and on board with your long-term plans (e.g. they're two offices of the same firm and they'd like you to spend some time in NY first) then I guess this wouldn't apply, but I have a hard time imagining such a scenario applying to a first-year associate.

Short answer, I'd take NY and deal with CA if and when the need arises.

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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:28 pm

That was the other concern, although I've heard that they are pretty open about having people move around (and I met a number of associates in my office that had done so).

If I decide to go this route, I'd be requesting to start out there. I don't think it'd be inconceivable to also let them know I may want to come back to CA eventually. However, given that firms expect high attrition in the first few years, they probably (1) don't expect it to matter, or (2) if it does matter, I'll be experienced enough that they'd probably be flexible in an effect to retain me.

The thought of having to sit for the entire CA bar a number of years after getting out of the law school frame of mind for studying sounds horrific, though. If there is any way I can make it easier by getting it in soon, I definitely think it's preferable.

Anonymous User
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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It's not a "nice to have" admission, really.

I'm slated to start at an office in California, but may attempt to start in New York with the idea of it being somewhat temporary (make it to mid-level or senior associate, then look to move back).


It really is a nice to have admission. Generally, you only need to be licensed in the state where your firm is located (with that caveat that I know some NY firms require their associates to take NY bar even if they are in the DC office). Any other bar licenses are extra and are really a pain in the butt - your firm is less likely to pay for the dues, CLE's, etc for the extra bar. And really, taking the bar exam later on is not that big of a deal. The low CA bar admission rate is more related to the # of unaccredited schools than to the difficulty of the exam (i.e., look at the pass rates for T14 schools in CA, it's quite high). Overall, its just silly to take a bar exam for a place you don't plan to live in for 5-7 years.

Anonymous User
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Re: Want to practice in 2 states, how to approach bar exams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It's not a "nice to have" admission, really.

I'm slated to start at an office in California, but may attempt to start in New York with the idea of it being somewhat temporary (make it to mid-level or senior associate, then look to move back).


It really is a nice to have admission. Generally, you only need to be licensed in the state where your firm is located (with that caveat that I know some NY firms require their associates to take NY bar even if they are in the DC office). Any other bar licenses are extra and are really a pain in the butt - your firm is less likely to pay for the dues, CLE's, etc for the extra bar. And really, taking the bar exam later on is not that big of a deal. The low CA bar admission rate is more related to the # of unaccredited schools than to the difficulty of the exam (i.e., look at the pass rates for T14 schools in CA, it's quite high). Overall, its just silly to take a bar exam for a place you don't plan to live in for 5-7 years.


Are you speaking from experience? I dunno, studying intensely for a test like that, after you're away from school for a while (knowing some of the random stuff we'll forget after school), while an associate, sounds pretty hard.

The CA rate is not terrifying, but it's more that it's jut a lot of information and I'll need to spend the time studying.

And I'm not sure if this was what you meant, but you definitely need to be licensed in the state in which you are practicing, not just the 'nerve-center' of the firm. Sorry if I was mistaken as to your meaning.




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