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What Does Bar Stand for in the Bar Exam or the Bar Association?

Posted in Personal Injury on February 2, 2022

In the field of law, there are several different opinions regarding the history of the term “bar.” However, lawyers can’t seem to agree on its roots. The common consensus is that the term was a reference to the furniture that divided courtrooms in medieval Europe. That layout continues to exist in today’s courtrooms. However, instead of furniture, a rail (or “bar” separates the public viewing section of a courtroom from the section reserved for anyone participating in the court proceeding.

It doesn’t matter what type of courtroom you end up in. There will always be a railing or a bar separating the courtroom’s audience from the attorneys and judges. That is true in courtrooms throughout New York and across the country. Only a licensed attorney is allowed to cross the separation or bar.

Over time, the term has become a representation of that privilege. That’s where we get standard phrases such as “member of the New York bar” or “passed the bar,” which are not only recognized in legal circles but throughout popular culture.

What’s a State Bar Association?

A state bar association is an organization that represents the attorneys practicing law in a state.

For example, the New York State Bar Association’s job is to represent the lawyers who carry a license to practice in New York State. The association’s mission is to help develop new laws, inform and educate the general public, and support its members in the ever-changing field of law.

The New York State Bar Association currently represents more than 74,000 organization members, 8,000 of whom reside outside of the state.

This organization is known for:

  • Advocating to raise judicial standards
  • Enhancing voluntary and pro bono involvement among its members
  • Establishing integrity within the profession of law
  • Seeking legislation to update and simplify legal procedures
  • Providing education to the public and services to the needy

In addition to their state bar association, a lawyer may join the American Bar Association, representing attorneys nationwide. Even counties and local jurisdictions have their own bar associations, such as the New York City Bar Association.

State Bars as Governing Authorities

It’s important to differentiate between bar associations and a state bar. Typically, bar associations are voluntary member organizations. Lawyers are not required to join them; they merely offer perks for networking and continuing education, among other things.

In many states, there’s what’s known as a State Bar. In these states, membership in the state bar is mandatory. The state bar is responsible for protecting the public from the unauthorized practice of law (people practicing law that aren’t lawyers). They are also responsible for investigating and prosecuting attorney misconduct.

Lawyers typically pay annual membership dues to maintain their law license. They must also complete a certain number of hours of continuing legal education.

New York State does not have a State Bar. Rather, the state’s court system has grievance divisions that oversee attorney conduct.

What Does a Bar Exam Stand For?

In order to become a licensed attorney and practice law within a state, an individual must have a valid law degree and satisfy specific requirements. They must also pass their state’s licensing exam, known as the “bar exam.” This test is known as the bar exam because a person must pass the exam to enter the legal profession (just like the bar in the courtroom).

As soon as a prospective lawyer passes the New York bar and can meet all other requirements necessary to practice law, they can get their license and start practicing.

What Does the Bar Have to do With a New York Personal Injury Lawsuit?

While it is pretty rare, there are cases where individuals attempt to practice law without a valid law license. When someone is suspected of fraudulently practicing, their credentials can usually be verified through the state or national bar association.

When you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a New York accident, you’ll want to contact a personal injury attorney who is a current member of the New York State Bar Association. A licensed New York Bar member will help you maximize financial recovery after a car accident or other injury-causing event.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the NYC personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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