California Bar Moral Character Application

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Underoath

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Underoath » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:22 pm

Hi everyone, I submitted my moral character application in May 2018, but sent in my paper application with materials a few days ago. I am starting to panic because it says the file must be complete with your documentation within 60 days or your application is abandoned. What should I do? I don't have another $500+ to give them or even to file an extension. Am I screwed? I see other people on here not submitting things at once, but still being ok.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:28 pm

Underoath wrote:Hi everyone, I submitted my moral character application in May 2018, but sent in my paper application with materials a few days ago. I am starting to panic because it says the file must be complete with your documentation within 60 days or your application is abandoned. What should I do? I don't have another $500+ to give them or even to file an extension. Am I screwed? I see other people on here not submitting things at once, but still being ok.


It's only July. If you submitted the online application in May, you have sixty days before there's a problem. That puts you in July. I don't see the problem.

justanotheruser

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby justanotheruser » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:05 am

Looks like I'm an idiot.

I submitted and paid for an extension of moral character determination. I got a letter reminding me that I don't need to renew/extend the determination since I already got admitted to the state bar prior to the expiration date. While I look dumb, I'm getting back $265 I didn't expect to have lol.

Underoath

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Underoath » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:23 pm

InterAlia1961 wrote:
Underoath wrote:Hi everyone, I submitted my moral character application in May 2018, but sent in my paper application with materials a few days ago. I am starting to panic because it says the file must be complete with your documentation within 60 days or your application is abandoned. What should I do? I don't have another $500+ to give them or even to file an extension. Am I screwed? I see other people on here not submitting things at once, but still being ok.


It's only July. If you submitted the online application in May, you have sixty days before there's a problem. That puts you in July. I don't see the problem.


yeah, I just didn't want them saying they didn't receive a document that I clearly sent and thus, having to start the whole application over. It now says I'm under review so I'm fine. lol

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:39 am

I'm coming up on the end of the 180-day period. I just found out that there are new fingerprinting requirements for CA attorneys. Apparently, the State Bar hasn't been keeping up on arrests and convictions of practicing attorneys. I'm certain this is going to slow the process down for everyone as they go through the records of every licensed attorney to see who reported and who didn't. Here's the link: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/News-Events/California-Bar-Journal/News-Highlights/attorney-re-fingerprinting-update.

I'm truly frustrated at this wait. My whole life revolves around the State Bar of California. My family's lives revolve around the State Bar of California. We can't do anything until they make their decision about me. I wonder if the members of moral character committee fully appreciate the power they wield over the lives of others, not just the applicant.

Also, I haven't been able to check my admission status because the page is down, has been for a couple of days now. "HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable." Does anyone know why? There's no announcement or notification on the landing page.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:39 pm

If anyone is looking for a job, consider becoming a Moral Character Analyst for the California Bar. http://www.calbarjournal.com/Portals/0/documents/humanResources/MoralCharacterAnalyst.pdf

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:05 pm

MandyNC: I couldn't reply to your PM because you have that feature disabled. To answer your question--I left a message on my analyst's voicemail. Their assistant called me back the next day. I was told to check again at the six-month mark. However, I know for a fact that I will be assigned to an investigator. I'm hoping that will happen shortly. I know someone who was denied after waiting 20 months. He declined to attend the informal hearing. I'm sure that was a mistake. If you get the "invitation," go.

If it makes you feel any better, another poster messaged me. Fifteen years ago, he was convicted of a serious felony and a couple of misdemeanors involving public indecency, leading police on a high-speed chase, drug possession, and obstruction. He passed the CBX and was admitted last year. He was under review for a year and a half.

Hang in there. If you're already admitted in one state, California will eventually admit you.

MandyNC

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby MandyNC » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:14 pm

Thanks InterAlia for the update.

I was caught by campus security while drinking underage (and in excess) as a freshman in college, 15 years ago. I did not receive any kind of citation or charges, was asked to talk to a counselor concerning the dangers of substance abuse one time, and did so. I disclosed it on my CA bar application because it had the slightest tinge of probation. I was admitted into another state with nary so much as a question. Other than that college episode, the only thing I have is a nonmoving violation on my driving record. I have a perfect credit score, no debts, no bankruptcies or delinquencies, not even a fee dispute with a client in 5 years of practice.

I'm only at the 3 month mark for the "official" initial review complete e-mail. My frustration is that I sent all my stuff in January, the livescan form for fingerprinting was allegedly not received, and they did not let me know that until late April. I take responsibility for that mixup, but had no way of knowing, so essentially sat in limbo from January to May. The blackboxness of it is just stressful. Taking the actual bar was no big deal in comparison.

I've left a couple polite voicemails with my investigator saying I am glad to provide any further information needed and disclosing that I have a job offer and appreciate any information they can provide. Radio silence, but we'll see.

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:51 pm

From what I've read, the CA bar now treats substance abuse issues almost on the same level as dishonesty/fraud. But the good thing is that the passage of time, and treatment, can temper the bar's consideration of a substance abuse issue.

Bla Bla Bla Blah

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:42 am

Do they usually complete review faster if you call up the assigned reviewer and have a heart to heart? The wait is seriously killing me, my family, and my ability to leverage myself for bigger opportunities in CA... been waiting since just before taking and passing the CA Bar last February. It's the only thing holding up my license. And it seemed like the person assigned cared a bit, though not much of an explanation from her about what I could do to speed up the process.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:49 am

Bla Bla Bla Blah wrote:Do they usually complete review faster if you call up the assigned reviewer and have a heart to heart? The wait is seriously killing me, my family, and my ability to leverage myself for bigger opportunities in CA... been waiting since just before taking and passing the CA Bar last February. It's the only thing holding up my license. And it seemed like the person assigned cared a bit, though not much of an explanation from her about what I could do to speed up the process.


No. They are on their own schedule. Your schedule, financial circumstance, or loss of professional opportunity doesn't factor in to the decision or the time frame for the decision. All you can do is wait, cooperate, and wait some more.

Bla Bla Bla Blah

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:57 pm

I thought the Bar Exam wait was exploitative because you drop about $1k, it's half scantron, and it took them almost half a year to grade the thing. Then this. At over $500 to do the moral character app, same thing. In any industry that had to compete, that amount of money would put things on the fast track to getting things done. But with the CA Bar... just feels like you have to bend over and take this nonsense.

Full disclosure, I went through a divorce and the debt from that was so high that I had to stop paying on it in order to take care of my kids (I was awarded full custody). They don't seem to care that without a license I am not in the position to leverage for even better firm opportunities out here in CA, which would allow me to settle my debts. I'm sure they will use my debts/divorce as an excuse to not do any work on my application, but so far that has only explicitly been done because I used a work reference that also happened to be a personal reference (which gave them an excuse after 2 months to send me a letter saying that they decided to do no work on my application). No word on what has been holding everything up since I corrected that issue about 2.5 months into all of this.

Just frustrating. Especially considering everything I've gone through to be in the position I am today. It's just that my position would be so much better if I had leverage, but my current firm knows that I do not out here in CA until I'm licensed.

Edit: I've already missed out on three opportunities with great IP firms who like my experience, loved my writing samples, but the uncertainty of when my license would come through was the only problem. Anger at losing those opportunities is an understatement about how I feel, especially with two little people whose entire wellbeing depends on me doing well.

kiwh

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby kiwh » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:02 pm

Does everyone receive the confirmation e-mail "This will confirm that the initial processing of the Application for Determination of Moral Character you filed with this office has been completed" ?

My paper application was received June 13 so I am approaching 60 days and was wondering if they always send out the e-mail above?

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:47 am

kiwh wrote:Does everyone receive the confirmation e-mail "This will confirm that the initial processing of the Application for Determination of Moral Character you filed with this office has been completed" ?

My paper application was received June 13 so I am approaching 60 days and was wondering if they always send out the e-mail above?


I got that automated email letter exactly 90 days after I submitted my complete application. I read that some people never got that email. They all got their C&F approved very quickly (under 3 months).

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:36 pm

FinallyPassedTheBar wrote:
kiwh wrote:Does everyone receive the confirmation e-mail "This will confirm that the initial processing of the Application for Determination of Moral Character you filed with this office has been completed" ?

My paper application was received June 13 so I am approaching 60 days and was wondering if they always send out the e-mail above?


I got that automated email letter exactly 90 days after I submitted my complete application. I read that some people never got that email. They all got their C&F approved very quickly (under 3 months).


Ditto. If you don't get the email, you're on the fast track. If you did get it, you're in a slow-moving line.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:41 pm

Bla Bla Bla Blah wrote:I thought the Bar Exam wait was exploitative because you drop about $1k, it's half scantron, and it took them almost half a year to grade the thing. Then this. At over $500 to do the moral character app, same thing. In any industry that had to compete, that amount of money would put things on the fast track to getting things done. But with the CA Bar... just feels like you have to bend over and take this nonsense.

Full disclosure, I went through a divorce and the debt from that was so high that I had to stop paying on it in order to take care of my kids (I was awarded full custody). They don't seem to care that without a license I am not in the position to leverage for even better firm opportunities out here in CA, which would allow me to settle my debts. I'm sure they will use my debts/divorce as an excuse to not do any work on my application, but so far that has only explicitly been done because I used a work reference that also happened to be a personal reference (which gave them an excuse after 2 months to send me a letter saying that they decided to do no work on my application). No word on what has been holding everything up since I corrected that issue about 2.5 months into all of this.

Just frustrating. Especially considering everything I've gone through to be in the position I am today. It's just that my position would be so much better if I had leverage, but my current firm knows that I do not out here in CA until I'm licensed.

Edit: I've already missed out on three opportunities with great IP firms who like my experience, loved my writing samples, but the uncertainty of when my license would come through was the only problem. Anger at losing those opportunities is an understatement about how I feel, especially with two little people whose entire wellbeing depends on me doing well.


It's incredibly frustrating. Hopefully, you've got your debt issue under control. Unsatisfied debt can cause huge delays.

What did the letter you received say about the lack of further work on your file? Did you have to send them additional documentation? At least you got a letter saying your file was inactive--or whatever it said. Most of us get nothing. Silence. Nothing more.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:08 pm

Bla Bla Bla Blah wrote:I'm sure they will use my debts/divorce as an excuse to not do any work on my application, but so far that has only explicitly been done because I used a work reference that also happened to be a personal reference (which gave them an excuse after 2 months to send me a letter saying that they decided to do no work on my application). No word on what has been holding everything up since I corrected that issue about 2.5 months into all of this.



What do you mean by "work reference who was also a personal reference?" As I recall, the application states: Personal references to include 5 reputable and responsible people, who know you well with their address and telephone information (at least one member of the bar).

Applicants aren't asked for work references, only to state any law-related job since age 18 or other jobs lasting more than six months. Applicants have to provide the name of the company they worked for and the name of the supervisor, but there's no rule that states a former supervisor can't also be a personal reference. Could you clarify?

Bla Bla Bla Blah

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:35 pm

InterAlia1961 wrote:
Bla Bla Bla Blah wrote:I thought the Bar Exam wait was exploitative because you drop about $1k, it's half scantron, and it took them almost half a year to grade the thing. Then this. At over $500 to do the moral character app, same thing. In any industry that had to compete, that amount of money would put things on the fast track to getting things done. But with the CA Bar... just feels like you have to bend over and take this nonsense.

Full disclosure, I went through a divorce and the debt from that was so high that I had to stop paying on it in order to take care of my kids (I was awarded full custody). They don't seem to care that without a license I am not in the position to leverage for even better firm opportunities out here in CA, which would allow me to settle my debts. I'm sure they will use my debts/divorce as an excuse to not do any work on my application, but so far that has only explicitly been done because I used a work reference that also happened to be a personal reference (which gave them an excuse after 2 months to send me a letter saying that they decided to do no work on my application). No word on what has been holding everything up since I corrected that issue about 2.5 months into all of this.

Just frustrating. Especially considering everything I've gone through to be in the position I am today. It's just that my position would be so much better if I had leverage, but my current firm knows that I do not out here in CA until I'm licensed.

Edit: I've already missed out on three opportunities with great IP firms who like my experience, loved my writing samples, but the uncertainty of when my license would come through was the only problem. Anger at losing those opportunities is an understatement about how I feel, especially with two little people whose entire wellbeing depends on me doing well.


It's incredibly frustrating. Hopefully, you've got your debt issue under control. Unsatisfied debt can cause huge delays.

What did the letter you received say about the lack of further work on your file? Did you have to send them additional documentation? At least you got a letter saying your file was inactive--or whatever it said. Most of us get nothing. Silence. Nothing more.


The only letter I received was about two months after I filed, stating that a reference for work was also listed as a general reference. With that tiny issue, apparently, they decided that they wouldn't even begin processing a thing until I corrected (i.e., they treated it as though I filed from the date that they finally processed the issue correction--almost three months in).

Outside of that, all I could do was call. I listed all my debts clearly. I also stated how I plan to address them. Since the debts arose from my divorce, and a two-year long stint where I had to address custody issues, I stated that. I have always had great credit before all those family court proceedings. Never an issue with unpaid debts prior to having to fight for my children. So hopefully they see that and the fact that the court awarded me full-custody and make the connection.

I'm going to be honest here. I wouldn't mind some perspective on this: The problem is that my plan to address my debts relies on getting a license so that I can land with a firm that has more stability than the contingency based IP firm that I currently work for. It is a future plan based on getting my license in the first place so I have more leverage and job security here in CA. More stability would make me a lot more comfortable settling out my debts (optimal), or paying an attorney to manage my bankruptcy so I can work (there a a lot of steps to bankruptcy that make it better for me to hire an attorney).

But the question was "what have you done" to address your debt in the Moral Character packet. And to be honest, I've avoided addressing it like the plague since the last thing I need is for the debt collectors to have more information on me that would allow them to serve me and disrupt my ability to work by forcing me to show up to multiple court proceedings on their terms. I'm pretty sure you can't list "avoiding service" as a proactive step towards addressing the issue! And I'm not sure that the Bar understands how little time a single parent has each day to just keep things from going haywire, let alone to be hauled into court by multiple debt collectors on their terms. I know how difficult it is to hang on to a career in law because I've been involved in the disruption that is having to show up to court instead of work. Settling my debt would handle that issue, and bankruptcy would at least consolidate the proceedings/give me more control over the proceedings.

So I am expecting questions on why I haven't been addressing the collectors directly. I'm guessing that is the hold up. But when it comes to a choice between feeding my kids and keeping my ability to produce stable, I feel like I have made the right decisions. It's just crazy that after thirty years of a squeaky clean record on everything the Bar would care about, and after pouring all my money into securing safety for my children (which I would do again and again without hesitation), dealing with the financial realities of that can be considered amoral somehow.

Bla Bla Bla Blah

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Bla Bla Bla Blah » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:44 pm

InterAlia1961 wrote:
Bla Bla Bla Blah wrote:I'm sure they will use my debts/divorce as an excuse to not do any work on my application, but so far that has only explicitly been done because I used a work reference that also happened to be a personal reference (which gave them an excuse after 2 months to send me a letter saying that they decided to do no work on my application). No word on what has been holding everything up since I corrected that issue about 2.5 months into all of this.



What do you mean by "work reference who was also a personal reference?" As I recall, the application states: Personal references to include 5 reputable and responsible people, who know you well with their address and telephone information (at least one member of the bar).

Applicants aren't asked for work references, only to state any law-related job since age 18 or other jobs lasting more than six months. Applicants have to provide the name of the company they worked for and the name of the supervisor, but there's no rule that states a former supervisor can't also be a personal reference. Could you clarify?


For my current position, I listed the office manager of my firm as a reference. Since I've known this guy for quite some time now and I thought he would be a good reference of character, I also listed him as a personal reference. They sent me a letter stating that this was against some rule. That's all I know. I assumed I missed the rule when I went through the packet information, so I just went ahead and provided a different personal reference in place of the office manager I listed.

kiwh

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby kiwh » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:28 pm

Thank you for answering my question regarding the automated e-mail that some say they get that states "This will confirm that the initial processing of the Application for Determination of Moral Character you filed with this office has been completed"

I am only at day 63 from paper application being received, no automated e-mail yet, passed the Feb 18 Bar. I called on August 1 and again on August 3 and was transferred to a different person. I left a message asking him if there was anything else I needed to submit at this point.

Just got home from work today and there was a very nice message saying that they had everything they needed at this point and would contact me if anything else was needed. He also apologized for not getting back to me earlier when I left the message.

I knew there would be a long wait since I waited to submit the MC until I actually passed the Bar but now kicking myself for not doing it earlier:)

MandyNC

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby MandyNC » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:34 pm

Sharing data points if useful, then glad to be done with this!

Submitted paper application late Jan 2018; sent livescan form under separate cover early Feb 2018
Reference letters went out to at least three people in early Feb
Late April 2018: Received letter saying they never received my fingerprints (!)
Early May: Immediately updated fingerprints and resent livescan form (but was told only issue was the PAPER. They already had my actual background check)
Early May: Advised initial review was complete (the "minimum 180 days" email)
May 18: Notified I passed bar exam
June 2018: Called initial analyst; advised my app had been passed to a different analyst or "investigator"
July 2018: Left voicemails directly with new investigator about three weeks apart, is there any info I can provide, very polite
Early August 2018: Got investigator on the phone live; explained I had sent all forms but was told in April they that one piece of paper was missing, understand I am at about the 97 day mark but starting to get heat from employer about getting sworn in, is there anything I can provide. Told no promises but I mentioned that only "yes" had been getting caught drinking by campus officials at college w/ no formal probation, I had disclosed this - not a concern, no additional info needed (15 years ago for me)
Aug 13, 2018: Checked online; moral character approved

I imagine I will be on motion and get my packet in 3-4 weeks.

InterAlia1961

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby InterAlia1961 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:55 am

MandyNC wrote:Sharing data points if useful, then glad to be done with this!

Submitted paper application late Jan 2018; sent livescan form under separate cover early Feb 2018
Reference letters went out to at least three people in early Feb
Late April 2018: Received letter saying they never received my fingerprints (!)
Early May: Immediately updated fingerprints and resent livescan form (but was told only issue was the PAPER. They already had my actual background check)
Early May: Advised initial review was complete (the "minimum 180 days" email)
May 18: Notified I passed bar exam
June 2018: Called initial analyst; advised my app had been passed to a different analyst or "investigator"
July 2018: Left voicemails directly with new investigator about three weeks apart, is there any info I can provide, very polite
Early August 2018: Got investigator on the phone live; explained I had sent all forms but was told in April they that one piece of paper was missing, understand I am at about the 97 day mark but starting to get heat from employer about getting sworn in, is there anything I can provide. Told no promises but I mentioned that only "yes" had been getting caught drinking by campus officials at college w/ no formal probation, I had disclosed this - not a concern, no additional info needed (15 years ago for me)
Aug 13, 2018: Checked online; moral character approved

I imagine I will be on motion and get my packet in 3-4 weeks.


WOOT! Way to go.

Hammoud25

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby Hammoud25 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:33 pm

Has anyone received a letter stating??

"The processing of your application for determination of moral character is continuing. The analyst assigned to your file is
Analyst Name / Phone Number

Most applications for Determination of Moral Character will be processed within a minimum of 180 days. If in the course of the investigation further information or documentation is required, you will be contacted. Written notification will be sent to you when the investigation has been completed.

If you have any questions, please contact the analyst assigned to your file.

Sincerely,

The committee of bar examiners "

I received this letter late June 2018.

Timeline of my application

- submit Nov. 30, 2018
- Mid March recieve letter stating I made a mistake (i placed my current supervisor as a personal reference and so I had to send a new reference. They said the day they receieve the amendment will be counted as my first day of submission)
- End of March is counted as my new 1st day
- May 18 I find out I passed the Feb 2018 exam
- I have called once a month since i passed to check up but analyst gives no information and tells me they dont need anything
- June 27 i get the letter quoted above
- Present day.. still waiting (over 130 days since submission)

----------

Anyone have similar incident? I have nothing in my past that I believe would hold me up. The new reference I provided was not even sent a letter for a submission by them. Recently the analyst told me they received enough reference responses and have the FBI/DOJ background check. I'm not sure what is causing the hold up.

stillwaiting2018

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby stillwaiting2018 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:46 pm

Hammoud25 wrote:Has anyone received a letter stating??

"The processing of your application for determination of moral character is continuing. The analyst assigned to your file is
Analyst Name / Phone Number

Most applications for Determination of Moral Character will be processed within a minimum of 180 days. If in the course of the investigation further information or documentation is required, you will be contacted. Written notification will be sent to you when the investigation has been completed.

If you have any questions, please contact the analyst assigned to your file.

Sincerely,

The committee of bar examiners "

I received this letter late June 2018.

Timeline of my application

- submit Nov. 30, 2018
- Mid March recieve letter stating I made a mistake (i placed my current supervisor as a personal reference and so I had to send a new reference. They said the day they receieve the amendment will be counted as my first day of submission)
- End of March is counted as my new 1st day
- May 18 I find out I passed the Feb 2018 exam
- I have called once a month since i passed to check up but analyst gives no information and tells me they dont need anything
- June 27 i get the letter quoted above
- Present day.. still waiting (over 130 days since submission)

----------

Anyone have similar incident? I have nothing in my past that I believe would hold me up. The new reference I provided was not even sent a letter for a submission by them. Recently the analyst told me they received enough reference responses and have the FBI/DOJ background check. I'm not sure what is causing the hold up.


Yeah, I got the same letter and went through the same experience with my analyst. I am 149 days out since submission. From what I gathered from the analyst 180 days is standard. Unless you're missing something you won't know until day 180 if they need additional information.

FinallyPassedTheBar

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Re: California Bar Moral Character Application

Postby FinallyPassedTheBar » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:31 pm

Hammoud25 wrote:Has anyone received a letter stating??

"The processing of your application for determination of moral character is continuing. The analyst assigned to your file is
Analyst Name / Phone Number

Most applications for Determination of Moral Character will be processed within a minimum of 180 days. If in the course of the investigation further information or documentation is required, you will be contacted. Written notification will be sent to you when the investigation has been completed.

If you have any questions, please contact the analyst assigned to your file.

Sincerely,

The committee of bar examiners "




Yes, I received that same letter sometime late June. Then about two weeks later I got my approval letter. That surprised me. I was ready to wait 3 more months.



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