Tips To Expedite Your Character and Fitness Application - JD Advising
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California bar exam essay, Character and Fitness Application

Tips To Expedite Your Character and Fitness Application

Every jurisdiction in the United States has some form of character and fitness requirement in order to practice law. As with other requirements, the character and fitness portion of obtaining a law license can be a long and sometimes grueling process.  In order to account for any hiccups along the way, it is a good idea to prepare your application with plenty of time to spare.  In this post, we give tips on how to collect the four most commonly requested types of information.

Tips To Expedite Your Character and Fitness Application

1. Ways to collect information regarding address history.

When filing their character and fitness applications, applicants need to disclose their address history.  This can be difficult depending on how frequently you moved or how well you kept track of where you previously resided.  Some jurisdictions require applicants to submit all addresses for the previous 5 years, others ask for all address history dating back to the applicant’s 18th birthday, while still others want applicants to go back even further.

The first place to start collecting address history information is any previous compilation of addresses that you might already have. This might include previous security clearance applications or public trust applications associated with a prior job offer. If the applicant cannot find a compiled full or partial list of previous addresses, the next best place to look includes tax records, credit card accounts, or credit reports. Finally, if the applicant is still having problems finding previous home addresses, another resource might be Amazon Prime©, Ebay©, or other internet services that are connected with delivery to a home address.

2. Ways to collect information regarding job history.

Character and fitness applications also require applicants to compile a list of their employment history. Locating employment history is usually easier than locating address history. For most people, a listing of their previous jobs can easily be found on either their resume or curriculum vitae (CV). The standard format is to include the employer, the dates employed, and the position/title. Therefore, this would be a good starting point (and for many, likely ending point) to find all the information for this application requirement.

In the absence of a resume or curriculum vitae, anther place where you might be able to locate this information is through pay stubs and tax returns.  You could also try searching other documents you still might be hanging onto such as a security clearance application or an employee handbook,

3. Ways to collect information regarding education history.

Character and fitness applications also require a list of an applicant’s education history. Locating education history is often easier than attempting to hunt down old jobs or old addresses.  Most people already list their degrees and certificates on their resume or resume or curriculum vitae (CV). This usually names the institution, the dates attended, and the month of graduation.  Additionally, applicants usually attend fewer educational institutions than they have home addresses or jobs.  Additionally, this information can also easily be found on a school transcript.

4. Ways to collect information regarding any legal proceedings.

Finally, applicants need to compile a list of legal proceedings in which they played a part. This information tends to be the most difficult to obtain. In the event an applicant doesn’t already have information readily available, applicants should see what information might be available online or follow up with the applicable jurisdiction. Additionally, individual states as well as the federal court system usually have a searchable database of court proceedings. Criminal proceedings and civil proceedings, including divorce proceedings, family law proceedings, and name changes, will likely be searchable in such databases.

For other types of legal proceedings such as collections-related matters, applicants can look to their credit reports and tax returns. If an applicant is unsure whether a particular legal proceeding is required to be disclosed, it is a good idea to contact the jurisdiction directly to ask.


The character and fitness application can be very seamless or can become an unnecessary obstacle for the bar exam applicants. Therefore, applicants should obtain all the necessary information and file their application in a timely manner. The more accurate the application and the earlier prospective students submit their application, the more likely they will pass this portion of the application without having it hold up the applicant’s license.

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