Moral Character Determination Instructions


Instructions for Application for Determination of Moral Character
Admissions Rules

The Application for Determination of Moral Character and Application for Extension of Determination of Moral Character will be processed in accordance with the Admission Rules. Current Admission Rules are available online at admissions.calbar.ca.gov or upon request from the Office of Admissions.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Registration

Applicants submitting an Application for Determination of Moral Character must have registered as a law student or as an attorney applicant with the Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) prior to submitting the application. Applicants must have a Social Security number to register with the Office of Admissions of the State Bar of California. If an applicant has not done so, registration may be done online at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Application for Extension

When an Application for Determination of Moral Character is about to expire, in order to avoid having to complete a new one, an applicant must submit an Application for Extension of Determination of Moral Character (extension application). An extension application must be filed by an applicant no sooner than every 30 months and no later than every 36 months after an initial determination of good moral character has been made by the Committee, and after each subsequent determination, until such time as the applicant is certified for admission to practice law in California. This paper application form must be downloaded from the State Bar Office of Admissions' webpage. The extension application must be accompanied by the fee specified in the schedule of fees published by the Committee and by two sets of fingerprints or a completed Request for Live Scan Service form. The extension application must be submitted in substantially complete form as defined by the Committee, and must be received in the San Francisco or Los Angeles Office of Admissions on or before the expiration date.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Reapplication Subsequent to Receipt of an Adverse Moral Character Determination or Withdrawal Under Rule 4.49 of the Admissions Rules

Following the expiration of the designated time period, applicants who have received an adverse moral character determination or withdrew their application under Rule 4.49 of the Admissions Rules (moral character) must file a complete paper Application for Determination of Moral Character form with two (2) fingerprint cards or a completed Request for Live Scan Service form and the appropriate fee. The application can be requested from the State Bar Office of Admissions. The completed form and fee must be forwarded to the San Francisco Office of Admissions to the attention of the Director for Moral Character Determinations.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Completion of Investigation

Applications for Determination of Moral Character and Applications for Extension of Determination of Moral Character generally will be processed in a minimum of 180 days, unless there are issues in an applicant's background that require further investigation and/or review by the Committee.

Applicants who are in their last year of law study are encouraged to file their Application for Determination of Moral Character at the beginning of their last year of law study, and all applicants are encouraged to file at least eight (8) to ten (10) months prior to the date they wish to be admitted to practice law in California.

Please note: Contacting employers is part of the administrative screening process required of all applicants. You submit your application with the understanding that you are willing to have your employers contacted.

Failure to file your application in a timely manner will delay your admission to practice law.

During the course of each investigation, the Committee routinely contacts many sources and outside agencies; therefore, staff is not in a position to provide information on the status of the investigation until approximately 120 days have elapsed. If in the course of the investigation staff requires further information or documentation, applicants will be contacted prior to the completion of the investigation. All applicants will receive written notification when the investigation has been completed.

Any questions regarding the status of an application after the lapse of 120 days should be made in writing rather than by telephone.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Completion of Application

All questions on the application must be answered and answered correctly; otherwise the application will be considered incomplete. Before mailing the hard copy of the application, ensure that all applicable forms (which will be listed on a checklist that will print with your application) have been completed and attached and the Authorization and Release form is signed. All pages of the application, including the cover, checklist, and submittal confirmation page must be submitted, with a completed Request for Live Scan Service form or two (2) completed fingerprint cards with the PDF opens in new window Request for Exemption From Mandatory Electronic Fingerprint Submission Requirement form. Any application not meeting these requirements is considered incomplete, and will not be considered filed until it is brought to a complete status. (See Application Abandonment) It is requested that you mail the hard copy of the application to the Office of Admissions within 30 days of the date the application is submitted online.

Each applicant should retain a copy of his/her completed application for reference.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Application Amendments

If you need to make changes to the information that printed on your application, you may mark the changes on the printed copy of your application or you may submit a statement amending the application signed under the penalty of perjury. The statement can be submitted with your hard copy application or mailed under separate cover to the Los Angeles Office of Admissions. Keep a copy for your records.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Application Abandonment

Moral Character applications that are not brought to a complete and filed status within 60 days of online submittal will be abandoned. This includes the lack of any of the documents that print out with your application and any of the documents listed on the checklist that prints with your application, signed Authorization and Release form, and either two completed fingerprint cards or a completed Request for Live Scan Service form. Once the moral character application is in filed status, if the applicant receives notice to provide information and/or documentation but does not provide such information/documentation within 90 days of the request, the application will be abandoned. No refund of fees will be paid in the event a moral character application is abandoned.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Submitting the Application

After completing and printing the application, you must sign the hard copy Authorization and Release form and attach all documents listed on the Application Checklist. To avoid delay in the processing of your application, the application, checklist, and all listed documents should be mailed within 30 days of submitting the application in an envelope to the following address:

Office of Admissions
The State Bar of California
845 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515

[ top ]  [ close ]

Fees and Filing Information
  Fees
Application for Determination of Moral Character $551.00
Application for Extension of Determination of Moral Character $265.00

[ top ]  [ close ]
Attachments

All supporting documents must be attached to the back of the copy of your application. Other letters, petitions, or requests of any kind must be sent under separate cover.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Proof of Admission (all attorney applicants)

Applicants must submit an original and current Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) as proof of admission from each U.S. jurisdiction (except federal courts), and each foreign jurisdiction in which the applicant has been admitted. The CGS must be issued by the jurisdiction within six (6) months of the date the moral character application is filed in order to be considered current.

A CGS from each domestic and foreign jurisdiction must be filed with the initial moral character application and with each subsequent Application for Determination of Moral Character (determination application), and each Application for Extension of Determination of Moral Character (extension application). Domestic and foreign attorneys whose status is inactive must submit an original and current letter from the jurisdiction confirming no disciplinary action is pending or related to the "inactive" status. Submission of foreign-language documents must include a certified English translation.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Driver's License

Applicants issued a driver's license from an out-of-state or foreign jurisdiction must report the name of the issuing jurisdiction, license number, and submit an original, current, and certified copy of the driving record from the jurisdiction(s). The driving record should include at least (5) years of driving history (regardless of the number of years the applicant was licensed by the jurisdiction), and must be issued by the jurisdiction within six (6) months of the date the moral character application is filed. A driving record from the jurisdiction(s) must be filed with the initial moral character application and with each subsequent Application for Determination of Moral Character (determination application), and each Application for Extension of Determination of Moral Character (extension application). Submission of foreign-language documents must include a certified English translation.

[ top ]  [ close ]

References

Confidential questionnaires and reference letters will be mailed by the Office of Admissions to references, employers, and law schools listed on the application. In order to decrease the likelihood of a possible administrative delay in certification, all confidential questionnaires and reference letters must be returned to the Office of Admissions as soon as possible.

Please note: Contacting employers is part of the administrative screening process required of all applicants pursuant to Chapter 4 of the Admission Rules. You submit your application with the understanding that you are willing to have your employers contacted.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Law School Declaration

A Law School Declaration form will be sent by the Office of Admissions to each law school an applicant has attended.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Fingerprints

Section 6054 of the California Business and Professions Code mandates that the State Bar of California

"...require that an applicant for admission or reinstatement to the practice of law in California, or may require a member pursuant to subdivision (k) or (l) of Section 6068, be fingerprinted in order to establish the identity of the applicant and in order to determine whether the applicant or member has a record of criminal conviction in this state or in other states. The information obtained as a result of the fingerprinting of an applicant or member shall be limited to the official use of the State Bar in establishing the identity of the applicant and in determining the character and fitness of the applicant for admission or reinstatement, and in discovering prior and subsequent criminal arrests of an applicant, member, or applicant for reinstatement...."

An Application for Determination of Moral Character or Application for Extension of Determination of Moral Character will not be considered complete without the appropriately processed fingerprints. Section 6054 also requires: "All fingerprint records of applicants admitted or members reinstated, or provided pursuant to subdivision (k) or (l) of Section 6068, shall be retained thereafter for the limited purpose of criminal arrest notification." Fingerprint records submitted in connection with an admission application will be maintained by the California Department of Justice for the limited purpose of compliance with the statute.

Pursuant to California Penal Code § 11105.2(f), the State Bar shall immediately notify the California Department of Justice when an applicant is denied admission to the State Bar, in order for the Department of Justice to terminate arrest notification services and cease retention of the applicant's fingerprint records.

Live Scan Processing:

Fingerprint Card Processing:


[ top ]  [ close ]
Application Acknowledgment

An application acknowledgment e-mail and letter will be sent following submittal of the application. The application will not be considered filed until the hard copy and all required documents have been received. You can confirm that the Office of Admissions has received the hard copy of your application by checking your Admission Status Screen.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Application Updating

Applicants for admission to practice law in California have a continuing duty to update responses to questions on the application whenever there is an addition to or change in information previously furnished. The applicant will not be eligible for certification until the file is current.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Withdrawal of Application

Withdrawal of Applications for Determination of Moral Character and requests for refunds received within 30 days of the online submittal date for online applications or the received date of paper applications will be honored with a 60% refund of all fees paid in conjunction with the application.

An applicant may withdraw his or her application at any time prior to being notified that a determination of moral character cannot be made because of the need for further inquiry and analysis. An applicant may withdraw his or her application after receipt of such notice only with the consent of the Office of Admissions.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Change of Address

It is the applicant's responsibility to inform the Committee of any address changes. All correspondence will be mailed to the current mailing address on file. To change your address, email and/or telephone number, you must go online to www.calbar.ca.gov/admissions and log into your Admission Status Screen and select "Change My Profile." Your contact information will be updated within 3 to 5 business days, unless your change request is received within the two week period prior to the release of results from an examination, during which period it will take approximately two weeks to process.

[ top ]  [ close ]

Further Communication

An official record of all communications is required; inquiries should be submitted in writing addressed to the Office of Admissions and sent to the appropriate address listed below. This will enable the staff to review your file prior to responding, and provide for precise rather than generalized responses. If your inquiry relates to a genuine emergency and requires immediate attention, the telephone numbers listed below are provided to assist you in such circumstances.

845 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515

- or -

180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
  Los Angeles San Francisco
Recorded General Information (213) 765-1550 (415) 538-2300
Information Service Coordinator (213) 765-1500 (415) 538-2300
Forms/study aids requests (213) 765-1520 (415) 538-2300
Law Student Registration (213) 765-1500  
Petitions (213) 765-1500  

The Office of Admissions is open for the transaction of business between the hours of 8:45 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays. In the Los Angeles Office of Admissions, credit/debit cards, cash, cashier's checks, travelers checks, and money orders will be accepted between 8:45 AM and 4:30 PM.

[ top ]  [ close ]