I’m in the middle of filling out a Character and Fitness Application for the GA Bar, and I’m gobsmacked at how much of a money racket this is. Now, I’ve always felt like law school was a money racket, but most of those costs are extraneous and avoidable. Paying for the Bar, however, is mandatory, and having to drop so much money at once is discouraging and irritating.
In the past week, I have paid:
– $200 deposit for Bar Review classes (which will cost $2500 total!)
– $50 for copies of my birth certificate
More upcoming fees include:
– $50 for fingerprints for one of the state bars
– $500 to submit my Character and Fitness Application
– $80 “notice of intent” that I’m going to apply for the TN Bar, and all the other trappings of that application, including a $100 laptop fee so that I don’t have to hand-write all those essays.
I’m definitely keeping track of all of these costs, but I’m going to go on and estimate that the GA Bar, including the review classes, ends up costing me at least $4000.
So the big question is: Is it worth it? I’ve got close to $100,000 in debt and NO job prospects. I want to move to Atlanta, which has a bigger job market, but I can’t afford to relocate. At this point, it definitely doesn’t seem worth it. I’m terrified about the idea of graduating and having nothing to do and nowhere to go but home to my parents’ house.
I feel like all of these fees are HUGE barriers to entry into the profession. I realistically can’t afford $4000 per bar exam, but I have to be willing to fork it all out because otherwise I’m $100,000 in debt for a degree I’m not even using. And I want to use my law degree. I want to do IP law, and affect public policy, and, yes, make some money so I can pay off my debt and fund my hobbies. I just don’t want to go bankrupt before I even get my license, and the more I pay for fingerprints, background checks, and application fees, the more I worry about that.