Bar Application Tips

Guest blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

This week I started my application for the bar.

Can we just talk about how extensive this application is? These questions dive DEEPLY into our history. One question even asked about my employment 10 years ago. I read that question and thought…”10 years ago I was a freshman in High School. My focus was literally basketball, academics, and making sure I had time to hang out with my friends at the movies. I had no job.” (Interestingly, there’s an option to indicate that you were “unemployed” and you have to explain why you were unemployed.)

I’ve reviewed all the questions and have answered most. If you haven’t started your application, here’s what you might need to know.

  1. Previous addresses
    If you’ve lived in multiple places within the last 10 years, you have to indicate the addresses of each location. That includes dorms, apartments, and even your parents’ house. For me remembering the addresses of my dorms was a bit difficult, but nothing Google couldn’t help me with.
  2. Employers
    Remembering this information was a doozy as well. Fortunately, I was able to go through my old emails and find out most of the information. My email-trail was SUPER helpful here.
  3. References
    Last year a bar representative came to explain the application process. She told us that we didn’t need references from other attorneys. To me, that translates into “You don’t need any references.” Turns out, for my state’s application I need 6 non-familial references (other than your previously-mentioned employers) from each place I’ve lived who have known me for at least 5 years (Yes, THAT specific). Fortunately, I was able to figure out 6 people that met that description….but just a heads up…you’ll need the contact information for at least 6 unrelated people.

All in all, the application process can be dense, but on the positive side…we’re about to graduate and close a super cool chapter of our lives.