The Office of Professionalism assists students with bar exam and admission, disclosures, character and fitness applications and commencement.
This office is run by Dean Vanderwyden
The Bar admission process requires attention to detail, researched history of domicile and work, and accurate reporting of all matters relating to academic records and encounters with the legal system. Therefore it is important that students begin this process no later than the winter break after the first semester of one's legal education.
Miami Law Services for Students Taking the Bar
Dean's Certificates for Florida Board of Bar Examiners: These are sent electronically from the Registrar's office.
Transcripts: Official transcripts ordered by each student through the Registrar are sent upon request.
Notary Services: The University of Miami School of Law has various staff members that can provide notary services. Click here to see a full list of individuals who are notaries and the departments they work in at Miami Law.
Fingerprinting for Florida: Electronic fingerprinting is available on campus at different times throughout the school year. Please watch for an email with instructions to register. If a student has his or her fingerprinting done at Miami Law, it will save the trouble of going to one of the company's office sites around the State of Florida.
Application for Admission to the Bar
By the end of the first semester in law school, all students should investigate the process for admission to the Bar including the character and fitness qualifications in the jurisdiction in which they plan to practice.
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 in January 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 one’s personal history.
In order to begin the process, use a search engine to find the website for the jurisdiction where the Bar Examination is to be taken. Students may also visit this site which provides links to the governing bodies in the various states: www.barexam.org.
For students seeking admission to The Florida Bar, visit www.floridabarexam.org.
All upper-level students should be filing their applications for admission to the Bar if they have not already done so. Third-year students who plan to seek admission to the Florida Bar should be aware of the following deadlines:
- November 15 — February bar exam filing deadline
- May 1 — July bar exam filing deadline
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 any student need it. What one could do in the meantime is start gathering information required on the application of admission to The Florida Bar. One can always use the gathered information to later prepare another application.
Beginning the Florida Bar Application Process
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 to one’s own computer so that it can be easily returned to and added to it. Remember, required documents include: Dean's Certificates for Florida, Transcripts and an official Birth Certificate.
Disclosures on the Miami Law Application
If there are questions about disclosures on the Miami Law application, please let Dean VanderWyden know. A student 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:
- Academic probation and similar issues at the undergraduate institution;
- Disciplinary sanctions or warnings at the undergraduate institution, including issues involving dorm-related sanctions or warnings;
- Charges involving conviction, probation, community service, withhold of adjudication; diversion;
- Revocation or suspension of one's driver's license;
- Traffic offenses where the fine paid was more than $200;
- Incidents above that occurred after filing the original application to Miami Law;
- Incidents above that occurred while enrolled as a student at Miami Law.
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.
Hearings Before the Bar Examiners
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, one’s responses on the application for admission to the School of Law must conform with those on one’s 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:
- Failure to report academic probation/suspension at another institution
- Failure to report disciplinary measures taken at another institution, including, but not limited to dorm warnings, sanctions imposed such as requirements to take a course, pay a fine, write a paper, etc.
- Failure to report "minor" events such as minor in possession, underage drinking, open container violations, etc.
- Failure to report traffic offenses where the actual paid fine was in excess of $200
- Failure to report incidents that occurred after the original law school application as filed
- Failure to report incidents that occurred in law school, including, but not limited to stadium events and any of the above that may have occurred in law school as a result of your not paying attention at Orientation
Bar Application Fees
It is common practice that jurisdictions will grant significant reduction in bar application fees for those who make application during their first year in law school. For instance, in Florida, students who apply within 180 days of initial enrollment in law school will submit a student registration with a fee of $75.
Those who registered with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners as first-year students then convert their applications during the third year of law school and pay the final $375 fee. The Florida deadlines are November 15 for the February Bar Examination and May 1 for the July Bar Examination. These dates are subject to change, and the website for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners should be consulted for current rules governing admission to The Florida Bar.
Those who wait until their third year to initially apply for admission to The Florida Bar will pay the full $875 fee. First-year students who register with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners save $425.