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Florida Bar Character and Fitness Information  

Resources to help you find the information required for the Character and Fitness portion of the Florida Bar
Last Updated: Aug 11, 2014 URL: http://researchguides.fcsl.edu/FloridaBarCharacterandFitness Print Guide RSS Updates

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Florida Bar Requirements

The Character and Fitness Application must be completed at the Florida Bar Website.

There are several useful links.  They are contained along the left hand side of the site. Make sure you look at: "Checklists, Forms, Study Guide and Information."  Once in this link choose "Register as a First Year Student"

You may also want to look at: "Admission Requirements" and "FAQ"

For more information on the process of the application, including specific information on Bar deadlines, fees, and how to answer questions, look at the Bar presentation for your law school entry date.

 

      
     

    Birth Certificates and Other Vital Records

    If you are a citizen of the United States, you must submit proof of this status with your application. Use the link below to find where you can obtain your Birth Certificate.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm

    Traffic Infractions

    Traffic Violations (Questions 22a-b)

    DOES NOT INCLUDE INFORMATION ON CONTESTED TRAFFIC CASES, ALCOHOL RELATED CASES OR FELONIES

    (See Court and Criminal Resources)

    Driver’s records in most states can be obtained online. The driving history reports range from 3 years (typical) to a full driving history (some states). The most common range is 3 years to 10 years. There is usually a fee associated with obtaining the record whether you get the record online, mail your request, or visit the motor vehicle offices in-person.

    The following are helpful steps to ensure you find your traffic violations and driving history:

    1. Request a record or check your records for every state in which you have obtained or held a driver’s license. A simple Google search using your state name and driving record (i.e. Colorado driving record) should return the state's website for obtaining driving records in that state.

    2. If you are unsure or cannot remember whether you have had a violation in another state, request a driving history from every state you have driven in. 

    3. Another way you may be able to find driving records is to go to the county clerk of courts for the counties you have driven in and check the records. This method is free, but not all counties provide web access to court records.

    4. Remember that some serious traffic violations also carry a criminal record, so make sure you check your criminal records as well.

    For instructions on obtaining Florida driving records go to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.  

        

      Tax Records

      Tax Liens (Question 14c)

      If you are not sure if the I.R.S. has filed a tax lien against your property, you can find out by calling the IRS Centralized Lien Unit at 800-913-6050.

      Taxes (Questions 15 a-b)

      If you need an exact copy of your previous tax records, you can fill out an I.R.S. form and pay $57 per tax return requested and it can take up to two months to receive. A cheaper way is to check with the person who prepared your taxes or if you prepared them yourself with a commercially available tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax, you can sign in and retrieve your past tax returns. You might be tempted to get a tax return transcript instead since it is free, but a tax return transcript will only show the line amounts of your tax return, not W-2 information, and it only goes back four years.

          
         

        Sample Tax Return Transcript

        You can look at what a tax return transcript contains to see why you do not want to order one even though it is free.

        Previous Addresses

        Previous Addresses (Questions 3, 6a-b)

        Question 3c asks for your longest residence since age 16 while Question 6b asks for all residences since age 16. These questions only require the city, state, and dates. Question 6a requires the complete address for all of residences for the past 3 years. 

        To locate old addresses, look for your old leases or look up your old shipping addresses at the online retailers you use, such as Amazon.com or BN.com. If you had utilities in your name, check with those service providers for all of the addresses at which you had service. Also check your taxes (if you don't have them, see the tax records section to the left). 

        Finally, check the folowing free person search websites:

            

          Educational Records

          Transcripts (Questions 7, 8)

          Requires transcripts from all undergraduate schools from which a student received an undergraduate degree, transcripts from all law schools attended (except the current law school, if the student is still attending), even if the credit was transferred to another school or is reflected on another school’s transcript, and transcripts from any post-secondary schools attended subsequent to law school.

          Students should request that all transcripts be sent from each educational institution attended directly to the Board’s office and provide a copy of each request with your application. Typically, academic institutions provide a means of requesting official transcripts online, and permit that students designate a recipient and address. The Board does NOT accept transcripts via fax. You will have to request that they be mailed.  Using a simple search in Google or another search engine for the term request transcript along with the name of the school attended will usually find information on ordering transcripts.  If you are having trouble, you may need to directly contact the registrar's office at the school.

          Educational Institution Discipline (Questions 9a-b)

          List all the times you were subjected to discipline by any educational institution post high-school. Include any accusations against you for violation of an honor code or student code of conduct, even if the accusation was dismissed as unfounded. List all instances of educational institution discipline from law school in question 9b; and instances from all other institutions in question 9a.

          You must disclose everything, even if legal counsel advises you that you need not disclose it. This includes instances of academic discipline expunged from your record, and instances protected from disclosure by statute or regulation. This means that obtaining all of your disciplinary records from each academic institution you attended may not be sufficient. You must supplement the official record with records you may have in your possession regarding incidents expunged from your official record. If no records are available, document each incident from memory.

              

            Employment

             Employment  (Question 11a)

            There are a number of ways to find out employer information if you do not know it. You can request an employment history from the Social Security Office. Unfortunately, they can take up to four months to get you the results.You can use your tax records to see where you worked and to get the name and address of companies. Keep in mind you need to provide the address of where you worked and it could be different from the address on W-2 form. If it is, call the company listed on the W-2 and ask them for the address of where you worked. Do you keep in contact with any of your former co-workers? Contact them and see if they have any of the information you need. Also, keep in mind employment includes any volunteer positions.

            If you need an exact copy of your tax records to get your W-2 forms, you can fill out an I.R.S. form and pay $57 per tax return requested. A cheaper way is to check with the person who prepared your taxes or if you did them yourself with a commercially available tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax, you can sign in and retrieve your older tax returns.

            You can also find a business address by looking up the name through the department of business regulation for the state in which you worked. In Florida, the Department of State Division of Corporations registers all companies doing business in the state of Florida.  Start with heading Corporations, Trademarks, Limited Partnerships, & Limited Liability Companies on the Department's homepage.

            Employment Discharge, Suspension, Disciplinary Relief from Duty/ Administrative Leave (Question 12a)

            If you had a suspension, discharge or were disciplined by an employer, ask for the Human Resources department at your former employer and they may be able to give you information on any disciplinary actions taken against you.  Contacting the H.R. department shows a good faith effort on your part in obtaining these records.

             

            Employment-Denial of Employment (Question 12c)

            The Human Resources department at your former employer may be able to give you information on a denial of employment. Contacting the H.R. department shows a good faith effort on your part in obtaining these records.

             

            Employment-Charges or Complaints (Question 12d)

            The Human Resources department at your former employer may be able to give you information on charges or complaints. If H.R.is unable to provide these records, you may need to obtain your criminal history report. See the Court and Criminal Resources tab of this LibGuide for more information.

             

             

             

                
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