In Florida and in some other jurisdictions, first-year students have an opportunity for early registration for admission to the Bar. In Florida, these student registrations are due by January 15, 2010 and are filed with substantial savings in application fees. This is not an application that can be completed in one sitting; it may take weeks to draw together information from your personal history.
All upper-level students should be filing their applications for admission to the Bar if they have not already done so.
Some students may not have decided to which jurisdiction they will apply, so a period of cautious delay is understandable. Dean Vanderwyden will be happy to offer advice on that question, should you need it. What one could do in the meantime is start gathering information required on the appliation of admission to The Florida Bar. One can always use the gathered information to later prepare another application.
Go to the website of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. There are many helpful links and frequently-asked questions. Carefully follow the instructions in completing the bar application. Do NOT download the application on school computers — save it on your own computer so that you can return to add to it.
Dean's Certificates for Florida: These are sent electronically from the Registrar's office.
Transcripts: Official transcripts ordered by you through the Registrar are sent upon your request.
Birth Certificates: All applicants to the Florida Bar are required to send an official copy of their birth certificate.
Electronic fingerprinting is available on campus at different times throughout the school year. Please watch for an email with instructions to register. If you have your fingerprinting done at Miami Law, you will save yourself the trouble of going to one of the company's office sites around the State of Florida.
If there are questions about disclosures on the Miami Law application, please let Dean Vanderwyden know. You can meet for a confidential appointment to take care of these things.
Here is a list of things that should have been disclosed on the Miami Law application:
All Miami Law students have a continuing obligation to update their applications with incidents that have occurred after filing the original application for ad mission to law school.
Any student who might be called for an investigative hearing should file his or her application for admission to the Bar as soon as possible. The numbers of applicants who are being called for hearings is increasing significantly. Third-year students will have their Bar admission delayed if these steps have to be taken after the Bar Exam.
If one receives a letter requesting appearance at a hearing, respond immediately to request the time and venue of the hearing, then contact Dean Vanderwyden for counsel.
As a reminder, your responses on the application for admission to the School of Law must conform with those on your application for admission to the Bar, and both must conform to what the Board of Bar Examiners will discover in their investigative process.
Typical problem areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
Florida Bar Exam Virtual Tour: If you have not taken a look, check out the Florida Bar Exam Virtual Tour.
Getting There: You should be walking through the turnstiles at the Tampa Convention Center by 8:30 a.m. That means that you have checked in downstairs at the street level, deposited any contraband in the check room, used the rest room, and are in a relaxed state by 8:30 a.m.
Luncheon in Tampa: The School provides a buffet luncheon for you on both Tuesday and Wednesday in a Ballroom on the street level of the Tampa Convention Center (down the escalator from the Examination Hall). The buffet consists of cold cuts—meats and cheeses, salads, rolls, desserts, tea, coffee and water. You can be as healthy as you want to be!
Make the remaining days count! Be diligent now, then confident and relaxed on the Tuesday of the Bar Exam. If you have any questions along the way, please e-mail Dean Vanderwyden.
Good luck on the Bar Exam! Just do it—pass this thing!
It is imperative that you have reservations for accommodations for the Bar Examination well in advance of the event, whether for February or July. A complete listing of Tampa Bay area accommodations is readily available. The hotels are listed from closest to farthest from the Tampa Convention Center.
There are many other good accommodations within easy commuting distance at perhaps significantly reduced prices. In order to compare rates, it is suggested that one contacts the hotel directly, tries using the hotel website or 800-number, or attempts to use other travel web sites in order to secure the best rate possible. Please do not hesitate to e-mail Dean Vanderwyden for additional recommendations.
It's never too early to plan ahead!