Summer Legal Scholars
Aug 22, 2016
On August 9, 2016, the city of Temecula as part of the Summer Legal Scholars hosted State Bar President David J. Pasternak. Mr. Pasternak spoke to the undergraduate students about the bar exam, state bar services and networking.
Before the State Bar President addressed the students, the city of Temecula handed out awards of recognition to Robin Johnson and Robert Rosenstein. Both were thanked for their hard work and dedication to the Summer Legal Scholars Program. They mentioned the importance of such a program for undergrads interested in the legal profession and the ability to meet local attorneys.
Mr. Pasternak addressed the students on the difficulty of passing the bar exam. That is has long been recognized as the most difficult bar exam in the country. Last month, 9,500 applicants took the bar exam. About half of them will pass. He discussed the upcoming changes to the exam. California for decades has been a 3 day bar exam. Starting July 2017, it will change to a 2 day bar exam. Bar students as well as bar review courses will have to adapt to the change.
The State Bar President also highlighted the state bar services. The state bar has offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles with over 600 employees. In addition to passing the bar exam, a bar applicant must pass the moral character portion of the bar application. The state bar investigates your moral character. It asks for references, looks at your job and educational history. A famous case was Stephen Glass. A former reporter who fabricated stories and passed the bar exam. The California Supreme Court who oversees the State Bar decided against granting Mr. Glass a bar license.
Additionally, the State Bar helps to raise funds for legal services. These are funds for people who can’t afford lawyers. There are 8 million in California who are below the federal poverty line, which is about 25% of the population. State Bar raises money for programs to help people who are unable to afford legal services. This year alone it raised over $15 million. These programs are excellent volunteer opportunities for those interested in attending law school.
Finally, Mr. Pasternark mentioned the importance of networking. After he became a lawyer, he joined a local bar association. Mr. Pasternark said it can be difficult to participate in such programs because of the long hours and commitments. But you can make lifelong friends and networking can help in the uncertainty of today’s job market. Can also help with referrals, cases in the future. He advised those students in attendance to exchange information and keep in touch. Networking starts today not tomorrow.
Efren is a Library Assistant at our Temecula Law Resource Center.