Bar Exams, Fabulosity, Job Searches

Happy News From The D.C. Bar (Or: Why You Should Send Tips To Above The Law)

If you appreciate the information and entertainment provided by Above the Law, please send us tips. You can reach us by email or by text message (646-820-8477).

Sometimes folks ask us, “What’s in it for me?” For example, on last week’s story about the epic UVA email screw-up, one reader wondered why UVA students told us about it in the first place.

Well, venting about something can be therapeutic. But sometimes tipping ATL can help people out in more specific and concrete ways. Here’s a great story involving a reader who emailed us about a problem that we helped to get fixed….

Over the eight or so years that ATL has been around, we’ve seen many scenarios where our reporting has resulted in positive changes. See, e.g., the GW Law stipend situation or the Quinn Emanuel bonus situation. As Justice Louis Brandeis famously observed, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

Some problems faced by our readers, such as Biglaw bonus woes, are high-class problems. Others are more serious. Last week, we heard from a reader who passed the D.C. bar exam in February of this year but was looking at a lengthy delay for getting admitted. Here’s what he wrote:

[I recently called to ask] when the swearing-in ceremony (which is necessary to be admitted in D.C.) would take place, and was alarmed when I was told SEPTEMBER! Yes, SEPTEMBER, as in three months from now. The swearing-in ceremony takes place in June of every year except… apparently this one.

I am a first-generation college grad from a family with very little means. Because I am from a family devoid of legal connections and I neither personally knew any lawyers before law school nor have family money to rest on, I need to be sworn in ASAP. The job hunt is soul-crushing because many companies, especially law firms, have ‘no JD’s accepted or need apply’ clauses in the job posts. Because I [am not yet admitted], I can only have non-law or law-ish jobs such as doc review.

If you can shed light on this, please do share…. [If you learn of] any way to be sworn in [before September], please let me know. Thank you.

Last Wednesday, we reached out to the D.C. Bar Committee on Admissions for comment on this situation. On Friday, Leah H. Gurowitz, Director of Governmental and Public Relations for the D.C. Courts, got back to us with this great response:

Those who take the D.C. bar exam in February and whose results are released in May are generally able to be sworn in by early or mid summer. The Court of Appeals initially did not set a summer swearing-in date for those who passed the February bar this year. We regret this oversight and will announce a July swearing-in date within the next week.

Unfortunately, we did not consider the impact this would have on job seekers and others whose employment and/or immigration status depends on the date they are sworn in. Anyone who passed the February bar and who feels that their situation (such as a job offer or immigration status) requires that they be sworn in prior to the July date is encouraged to contact the Committee on Admissions directly and explain their situation. Every effort will be made to address their needs.

Yesterday, as promised, the Committee on Admissions announced a July 11 swearing-in date. If you’re interested in being sworn into the D.C. bar on that date, check out the Committee website for details (including the registration form you need to complete).

Early congratulations to the lawyers who will join the D.C. bar next month. Kudos to the Committee for responding so quickly and helpfully to a problematic situation.

Do you have a problem that we might be able to help out with? Feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477), and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks.

July 2014 Bar Admissions Ceremony [District of Columbia Courts]

Earlier: Oops! Top Law School Email Screw-Up Reveals Grades, Ranks Of All Clerkship Applicants

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