Things have just moved by in a blur since I got my bar results on Nov.1. I received my actual bar notice from the Texas Board of Law Examiners (“BLE”) the very next day. It was a nice fat envelope…sweet!
Inside was an official letter of congratulations from the State Bar of Texas that simultaneously informed me not to forget to pay my:
- Membership dues ($78 at least for the first 3 yrs. of practice, then it goes up!!!)
- Occupations tax ($200, but pro-rated to $116.69 for November licensure), and
- Legal Services fee ($65 and no explanation what this covers.)
Luckily, as a government lawyer, I fall into a statutory exemption category and only have to pay the membership dues. Whew! That was a nice surprise.
I also got my bar score from the BLE and a nice letter from the clerk of the Supreme Court of Texas regarding my attorney’s oath and when I should receive my official license (suitable for framing!!). Since there are currently vacancies on the Court, our licenses are going to be somewhat delayed until later in December. BUT, assuming we pay all our fees and get sworn in, we are considered licensed and eligible to practice law in Texas right away, even without the paper license. Awesomeness!!!
My head was swimming and it took me several reads of every letter in the packet to digest it all. I also found out that within my first year of licensure I have to take my first “official” Minimum Continuing Legal Education (“MCLE”) class on Ethics which is required of all baby lawyers…that’s another $125. Money, money, money…it’s no wonder lawyers charge so much for their services.
With regard to MCLE I say “official” because as soon as I paid my dues I was able to access my MCLE account where I had already banked 12 hours during the time leading up to the bar exam. Since new lawyers have 2 years to meet their first 15 hours of MCLE (after two years we need 15 hours per year), I am just a few hours short of being MCLE’d up until 2015.
I don’t know that reality has really and truly set in with me yet. I am still hoping that I’m not dreaming and that I am in fact DONE. It is the strangest feeling to be looking forward to Thanksgiving for nothing more than THANKSGIVING. For the last 4 years my Thanksgiving was spent trying to squeeze studying into every spare moment without totally blowing off my family. I had a final exam each and every Monday after Thanksgiving all 4 years of law school. This year I will not only get to fully enjoy the holidays, but I will get to join the black Friday craziness that I’ve had to skip for so long. Basically, I have my life back. Oh and I’m now a lawyer, an attorney…ESQUIRE. What a weird feeling. I smile every time I think about it, but am still in awe of what I accomplished.
Case in point:
I met with a professor the other day that came by the office to review his promotion and tenure file. When we were done, he got up to leave and, noticing the glass name plate/card holder on my desk said, “Thank you, uh…. What do you call attorneys? ‘Ms.’ sounds so disrespectful.” I paused for a moment and confessed, “You know, Professor…since I just got my bar results less than a week ago, I’m still getting used to being an attorney myself, so ‘Ms.’ is just fine.” He smiled and I smiled and once again I felt that little thrill run up my spine of knowing that yes…I DID IT!!! I am a TEXAS LAWYER!!!
- Me in front of the Texas State Capitol–Austin, TX