Most states conduct bar examinations on a bi-annual basis, in February and July of each year. As many of you know, state-based registration deadlines for the upcoming February 2013 bar exams are fast approaching. While differences may exist, most states impose December 15, 2012 as the registration deadline for the next available bar exam.
Be strategic. For those of you who are in the process of conducting a job search, or are about to commence a search in early 2013, you should strongly consider taking an additional bar exam in order to expand your prospects. We expect 2013 will still be a tight job market, thus it makes sense to create as many opportunities as possible in as many realistic markets as possible.
Expand your value to a prospective employee. Even if you are not interested in relocating, consider taking an additional bar exam for a state in which you or your clients you are likely to conduct significant business (e.g., if you practice in Washington, DC then consider taking the Maryland or Virginia bar exams or if you practice in New York then consider taking the New Jersey or Connecticut bar exams).
Create realistic opportunities to relocate. Many practitioners decide, after a few years of practice, that they want to return home. While it is helpful to have prior ties to a geographic region, this often is not enough to get a law firm to consider you if you are not also admitted to practice in the region of interest. Sitting for the state bar exam will markedly improve your chances of getting interviews. Ideally, it is best to be licensed in a particular state of interest prior to applying to positions in that region; however, where this is not possible due to time constraints, you should at least register for the next available bar exam and indicate your intention to sit for the upcoming exam on your resume.
Invest in your future. If you do not have prior ties to a region of interest but know you want to relocate there either for personal or professional reasons, then registering for the next available state bar exam will go a long way towards showing firms that you are serious about your desire to relocate. Firms will be more likely to invest in you if you make an initial investment by taking their state’s bar exam.
So what are you waiting for! Although time is running out, you still have a few days to register if you are interested in sitting for an additional bar exam in February 2013.