If you want to try your hand at becoming a California lawyer, it just got more expensive — to the tune of 26 percent. As anticipated, beginning with the February administration of the bar exam, wannabe lawyers will pay $1,003 for the exam and laptop fee — up from $830. Plus the character and fitness fee will go up 32 percent to $725.
Of course, once you’ve already dropped $150,000 on your way to becoming an attorney, what’s a few hundred more dollars?
As reported by Reuters, the fee hikes are designed to help cover an anticipated budget shortfall:
Bar leaders said those increases are necessary to cover the rising costs of its attorney admissions work and said that the organization has not raised admission fees since 2016. The bar’s admissions fund was projected to run a nearly $8 million deficit in 2024 without the adopted fee increases. The State Bar has an overall budget of nearly $270 million.
“When you go year after year without adjusting fees, you’re going to have to pay the piper,” said State Bar trustee Mark Toney.
At the same time, the state bar is also making it more difficult to sit for the exam. In February, they approved the elimination of testing sites in San Diego, Sacramento and Oakland. This more was also done to save money — an additional $550,000 in this case.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.